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Besides the main topic this book also\greats of 
Subject No. On page Subject No, On page 



THE RED MIRIOK 

AND 

SHAN FOLK LORE STORIES 



THE 



* 



9 

* 



ILLUSTRATIONS BY 

GEORGE A. NEWMAN 



SHAN FOLK LORE STORIES 



BY 



W. C. GRIGGS, M. D. 

ILLUSTRATIONS BY A NATIVE ARTIST 



PHILADELPHIA 

ametican Baptist flubtfcatlcm Society 

1420 Chestnut Street 



\J 

V 





Copyright 1901 and 1902 by the 
AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY 



Published January, 1903 



ffrom tbe Society's own ipress V 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 



KOREA has been called the " Hermit Nation," as 
of all nations Tibet alone has exceeded it in repulsing 
foreign influences. Only in 1882 did the United 
States secure a treaty, and that opened the country to 
foreign trade only in the capital, Seoul, and three ports. 
But in this treaty Korea was treated with as an inde- 
pendent State, and its people are distinct from either 
Chinese or Japanese and well repay study and mission- 
ary labors. This little story is one of the first to pre- 
sent this slightly known land and its customs, and 
therefore deserves special attention from all who are 
interested in the Christianizing of Oriental nations. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 
MR. KIT-ZE 9 

CHAPTER II 
A HASTY DESERTION 19 

CHAPTER III 
THE LOST RECOVERED 30 

CHAPTER IV 
A STOWAWAY 39 

CHAPTER V 
BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 49 

CHAPTER VI 
A FRIENDLY HAIL 61 

CHAPTER VII 
AN ENTREATY 71 

CHAPTER VIII 
THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 81 

CHAPTER IX 
A THEFT 90 

CHAPTER X 
AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 102 

CHAPTER XI 
"ONE SOUL" 115 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



" Mr. Kit-ze's hat was moving across the organ-' .... 17 

" ' Fes, only a little, for it takes nearly three thousand of 

them to make a dollar'" 28 

" Yes, it was the red miriok " 38 

"He began to shake him vigorously " 47 

" Cheef oo prostrated himself to the magistrate" 54 

" The old man was bolt upright, despite his years" ... 69 

" Then, extending his hands, entreated " . 79 

" He was permitted to look . . . upon the priests at their 

devotions " 85 

" He forthwith . . . proceeded to throw rice into the well " 92 

"'Stop!' entreated Helen" 106 

"'Sorry. Sorry. It was wrong. She showed me' " . . 123 



THE RED MIRIOK 



CHAPTER I 

MR. KIT-ZB 

HEBE is one thing I 
forgot to mention," 
said Mr. Reid, re- 
suming the conver- 
sation. "If we do 
undertake our sam- 
pan journey, we 
must have Mr. 
Kit-ze. I have al- 
ready talked to him 
about it." 
"Oh, father!" 

The expression of Clarence's face so emphasized his 
protest that nothing beyond the mere exclamation was 
necessary. 

" Why, Clarence, what could be the objection to Mr. 
Kit-ze?" 

1 ' A good one, father. He is such an eel-like fellow. 
I know we couldn't depend on him. Then it strikes 
me that his mind isn't right. He's always muttering 

9 




10 THE EED MIEIOK 

to himself and clutching his breast in such a queer way. 
Oh, I'm sure it would be a bad step to take Mr. 
Kit-ze." 

" That is just like a boy ! " declared Helen, his sis- 
ter, ' ' jumping at conclusions. ' ' 

' ' You mean girls, ' ' retorted Clarence. ' ' They fairly 
spring at them ; yes, reach out their arms to grasp 'em 
as they spring." 

"Come, children, .don't spar," warned Mr. Eeid. 
' ' But, my son, ' ' turning to Clarence, ' ' I fear it is as 
your sister asserts, you have arrived at conclusions too 
hastily with reference to Mr. Kit-ze. He is a little 
strange in his manner, I'll admit ; but his friends, some 
of whom belong to the mission, tell me that he is a very 
good sort of fellow, honest and well-meaning, though 
he is rather grasping as to money matters." 

"He is well-meaning," asserted Helen; "and I 
think the reason he is so close about money is because 
he has many who are dependent on him. Yes, I like 
Mr. Kit-ze. Though some of his ways are strange, yet 
he is good-natured and kind when you know him 
well." 

"Guess, then, I don't know him well," admitted 
Clarence. 

" No ; and until you do, you won't like him." 

Clarence whistled, and reached over to give the tail 
of Nam-san, the monkey, a twist, which that quick- 
tempered little animal resented by scratching at him 
and then springing away. 

"I think I know what is the matter with Mr. 



ME. KIT-ZE 11 

Kit-ze, ' ' said Mr. Eeid, as though in sudden comment 
after following a line of thought. " He is a religious 
enthusiast. ' ' 

Helen looked at him quickly, a glad light over- 
spreading her face. " Oh, father, I didn't know that 
Mr. Kit-ze had been converted. That is news. " 

"I don't mean that, Helen. I wish that it were 
true, for I have been working earnestly to that end for 
more than a year. What I have reference to is that 
he is an enthusiast in his own religious belief."- 

" Why, I didn't know, uncle, that these people had 
any religious belief," said his nephew, Mallard Hale, 
who for a few moments past had not joined in the con- 
versation. " I believe, yes, I am sure I have seen it 
stated that as a country Korea is practically without a 
religion." 

" That is true in one sense, Mallard, but not in an- 
other. While Korea has no established religion, what 
might be called a national religion, as have China, 
Japan, and her other neighbors, yet such of the 
Koreans as have not individually embraced Buddhism, 
Confucianism, and the like, are given over wholly to 
ancestral and to demon worship, especially the lat- 
ter." 

' ' What do you mean by demon worship, uncle ? ' ' 

"They believe in spirits of all degrees, good, bad, 
and indifferent, but principally the bad. They fill the 
air around them ; they dwell in their homes ; they sit 
at their feasts ; they even perch upon such portions of 
the human body as suits them. They bring evil or good 



12 THE EED MIRIOK 

as they are angered or appeased. To counteract the 
influence of the evil demons the people carry about 
with them certain charms to frighten them away. 
Around their habitations, especially in the country dis- 
tricts, they erect these grotesque figures having resem- 
blance to the human form, the more hideous the better. 
They are called miriolcs. In the cities, where there is 
little space for such erection, the figures, considerably 
diminished in size, are either kept in the homes or 
carried about the person. In many instances this de- 
votion to miriofo amounts to fanaticism of the most 
pronounced kind." 

" Oh, yes, that is just what Mr. Kit-ze does ! " ex- 
claimed Joyce, the younger son of the family. ' ' He 
carries it around in his bosom. Sometimes he takes it 
out and talks to it. I have seen it. Oh ! it is the 
ugliest little red thing ! " 

All eyes were now turned inquiringly upon him. " I 
believe, yes, I am- sure," he continued, "if I were to 
see it in the black dark, I'd run from it." 

" Why, how could you see it in ' the black dark ' ? " 
quizzed Mallard. 

Joyce flushed as the laugh went around at his ex- 
pense, then he answered : ' ' Oh, I mean if it were so I 
could see it even a little bit. I am sure I could see its 
eyes, for they are made out of something that just glit- 
ters and burns. ' ' 

" It is as I supposed," said Mr. Reid ; "Mr. Kit-ze 
is an enthusiast on the subject of this miriok. This ac- 
counts for his strange behavior, his mutterings, and the 



MR. KIT-ZE 13 

clutchings at his breast. He keeps the miriok there in 
the folds of his gown. He believes that it wards away 
the evil spirits and invites the good. On other subjects 
I am sure he is all right. At any rate, if we are going 
to attempt that journey up the Han we shall be almost 
dependent on him. He not only has the largest sampan 
and is considered the safest boatman on the river, but 
he also knows the way better, having ascended higher 
than any other, I am told." 

"Then, uncle, we must have him by all means," 
said Mallard decisively. 

- "Yes," added Clarence somewhat flippantly, "red 
mirioJc and all." 

"Yes, even the red miriok to get Mr. Kit-ze," de- 
clared Mallard. Then he asked, "Isn't the journey 
attended by some degree of danger ? " 

" With considerable danger at some places, I under- 
stand, Mallard ; and this is why we should have a stout 
sampan as well as a sampan man who. understands both 
his business and the river. ' ' 

The family of Kev. Mr. Eeid, missionary at Seoul, 
Korea, consisted of his wife, her widowed sister, his 
two sons, Clarence and Joyce, and his daughter, Helen. 
Mallard Hale, an American youth of seventeen, had 
recently come to make his home with his uncle. He 
was only a few months older than Clarence, and the 
two cousins were very fond of each other. Helen was 
nearly fifteen and Joyce twelve. 

For some days they had been talking of this sampan 
journey up the Han. Mr. Keid had long wanted to 



14 THE RED MIRIOK 

take such a trip into the interior for the purpose of 
making observations of the country and of studying the 
conditions of the people along the south branch of the 
Han. It was reported to be a wonderfully attractive 
and fertile section, with a people whose manners and 
customs, differing from those in the cities, made them 
of deep interest to the traveler. They were described 
as quiet and peaceful, given to hospitality, and fairly 
burning with curiosity. 

The Mission Board, under the auspices of which Mr. 
Reid labored, had for some time contemplated the es- 
tablishment of a branch mission in the interior. They 
were waiting for him to decide the point where it should 
be located. He had hesitated a long time about un- 
dertaking the sampan journey because as yet there 
had not been sufficient money to defray the necessary 
expenses. But the coming of his nephew, Mallard 
Hale, had quickly done away with this obstacle. For 
Mallard was comfortably fixed as to income, and he 
insisted on bearing all the expense of hiring and pro- 
pelling the sampan, while his uncle was left to provide 
only for provisions and equipments. 

"Then, uncle," said Mallard, after they had talked 
a little further, ' ' let us decide positively on going, also 
that we take Mr. Kit-ze and his sampan. ' ' 

"Yes, red " began Clarence, but the words 

were cut short by an exclamation from Joyce. 

"Why," he cried, " here is Mr. Kit-ze now ! " 

Sure enough, Mr. Kit-ze was coming in. It was 
just after dinner, or opan, as they would say in Korea, 



MR. KIT-ZE 15 

and Mr. Kit-ze was still caressing his lips with his 
tongue, well pleased with the toothsome morsels that 
had gone to comfort his stomach. He was a little 
stouter and taller than the average man of his race, 
standing five feet six in his sandals, weighing, perhaps, 
one hundred and sixty pounds, and was fifty years of 
age. His complexion, originally of a bright olive, had 
now a deep tan through the action of sun and winds. 
He had a straight nose, but rather distended nostrils, 
the oblique Mongolian eye, while his hair, of a deep 
russet-brown smeared with lampblack, was wound in a 
knot at the top of his head. 

Mr. Kit-ze had on the loose white robe of his coun- 
trymen, with flowing sleeves, that fell just below the 
knees. It was belted in with a girdle of straw. Be- 
neath it showed his baggy trousers, gathered in at the 
ankle. A Jcatsi (hat), in shape like a flower pot 
turned clown over a table, wadded stockings, and san- 
dals of straw completed his attire. When he removed 
his hat, on Mr. Reid's invitation, there was a little 
tight-fitting skullcap of horsehair underneath, carefully 
placed on top of his knot of hair. He seemed solicit- 
ous about his hat, not knowing just where to place it. 
It was, indeed, a huge affair for a hat, the brim being 
nearly six feet in circumference. At home Mr. Kit-ze 
had his swinging case for his hat, but here he was at a 
loss as to its disposal. Helen at length came to the res- 
cue and placed it on top of the organ, where it rested, 
one portion of the brim lying upon a large music book, 
the other flat upon the surface of the instrument. 



16 THE BED MIBIOK 

"Well, Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Keid, "are you 
ready to take another journey with your sampan up 
the South Han?" 

Instead of replying to this question, Mr. Kit-ze 
suggested : ' ' Better go up, the North Han, honorable 
instructor. There are the Diamond Mountains. ' ' 

Clarence jumped up suddenly, shouting out his de- 
light : "Yes, father, let's goto the Diamond Moun- 
tains. Oh, won't that be glorious?" 

' ' And pick up treasure, ' ' suggested Helen ; ' ' enough 
to build the new mission chapel that is so needed," she 
added, her eyes taking on a deeper glow as she glanced 
at her father. 

"Why, are there really any treasures to be found 
in those mountains ? ' ' asked Mallard, catching the ex- 
citement. 

Mr. Kit-ze, who understood enough of the language 
to catch the drift of the question, quickly replied : 
" Yes, honorable sir, there are treasures. Two gentle- 
men from your country got a whole wallet full of dia- 
monds in the mountains last week. They say they can 
be picked up like bamboo reeds after a freshet." 

"Only Mr. Kit-ze's enthusiasm," said Mr. Keid in 
an aside to his nephew. " Some one has been filling 
him with the story, which is vastly exaggerated, I am 
sure. But later in the year, Mallard, if you desire it, 
we can make the trip to the Diamond Mountains. 
Now my Master's business calls me in another direc- 
tion." 

"All right, uncle, that Diamond Mountain trip can 



MR. KIT-ZE 



17 



wait. Yes, we'll take it later," he added after a 
pause. 

"Is your sampan ready, Mr. Kit-ze?" Mr. Keid 
now asked. 




"ME. KIT-ZE' s HAT WAS MOVING ACROSS THE OEGAN!" 

' ' Not quite, exalted master ; but your servant can 
make it ready in a day or so." 

' ' Are you sure of that ? "We should like to start 
by Tuesday of next week ; and when we are ready we 

want the sampan ready. You understand ? " 

B 



18 , THE BED MIEIOK 

"Most learned teacher, it shall be as you wish," 
Mr. Kit-ze assured him, with a bow that brought hia 
forehead almost to the floor. 

A, full understanding was now had ; the day set, ar- 
rangements perfected, and the amount of Mr. Kit-ze' s 
remuneration satisfactorily adjusted. 

Mr. Kit-ze arose to go. All this time, having de- 
clined the chair offered to him, he had been squatting 
upon his heels, his legs doubled back under him. Con- 
sidering the position, it was surprising how quickly he 
got up. He had barely gained his feet when a sudden 
cry that startled them all escaped him. He was gaz- 
ing straight toward the organ, his features growing 
rigid, his eyes dilating. Following his gaze, it took 
them only an instant to discover what was the matter 
Mr, Kit-ze's hat was moving across the organ, moving 
as though it had feet and were walking. 



CHAPTER II 



know.' 



A HASTY DESEKTION 

>HE pupils of Mr. 
Kit-ze's eyes grew 
larger and larger. 
They seemed ready 
to burst into flame. 
He began to mutter : 
"The spirit! the 
spirit ! It has at- 
tached itself to my 
hat ! It will now 
attend me home and 
stay there ; how 
long, I do not 
He made a sudden movement toward the 




door. He was evidently going away without his hat. 
Nothing could induce him to touch it while the spirit 
had taken hold of it in so demonstrative a way. Plainly 
his thought was that it was better to lose the hat than 
to run the risk of contact with the spirit. 

His movement was hasty, but, quick as he was, 
Helen acted more quickly. In an instant of time, as 
it were, she had grasped the whole situation. Her 
eyes too had done her good service. Her glance 

19 



20 THE BED MIBIOK 

in the direction of the moving hat had shown her 
what Mr. Kit-ze did not see, nor even the others at 
first, an inch or so of snake-like tail showing beneath 
the rim of the hat. She sprang toward the organ, 
quickly threw up the hat, and exposed to view the 
whole furry body of Nam-san, the mpnkey, who began 
to chatter at her indignantly, the shrill notes heard 
above the burst of laughter that now came from the 
others. 

Mr. Kit-ze was just backing out of the doorway, 
but he paused as Helen's quick movement disclosed 
Nam-san under the hat. 

" You see it is the monkey, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen 
smiling. " He is a mischievous little beast, and doesn't 
respect anything that he can have his fun with ; not 
even your hat, Mr. Kit-ze. But he hasn't hurt it. 
See, it is all right ! ' ' 

She advanced toward Mr. Kit-ze bearing the hat. 
She held it toward him, but he did not take it. He 
still seemed alarmed, and his glance was nervous. 

Seeing the condition Mr. Kit-ze was still in and his 
attitude toward the hat, Mr. Eeid now came to Helen's 
assistance. "There has no harm befallen the hat," 
he assured Mr. Kit-ze. "It was only the little beast 
under it, as you saw, that was causing it to move. It 
is all right now, my friend, ' ' and he took the hat from 
Helen and held it toward Mr. Kit-ze. 

Mr. Kit-ze still hesitated, but, after further reassur- 
ing words from Mr. Reid, he consented to receive the 
hat. Yet he did not put it on ; he turned away, hold- 



A HASTY DESERTION 21 

it gingerly between his thumb and one finger. Af- 
ter he had gone, they found it on the doorstep, a mark 
apparently made with red chalk drawn all around the 
rim. 

' ' The superstitious old crank ! ' ' exclaimed Clarence 
in disgust; "what made him leave his hat with us? 
Why didn't he take it away and destroy it, if he was 
that afraid of it?" 

" I think he left it as a reproach to us," said Mr. 
Eeid. The eyes around him sought his inquiringly. 

" It is a hint that, as the misfortune befell it here, 
and he is now deprived of his hat, we should replace 
it with another." 

"And how will Mr. Kit-ze feel toward us, uncle, if 
we do not ? ' ' asked Mallard. 

" I fear not very pleasantly, for a while, at least," 
replied Mr. Eeid. 

' ' Then the new hat must go to him by all means, ' ' 
said Mallard. " We can't afford to start off with our 
sampan man in the pouts." 

"No, indeed," assented Helen. 

So the next day they sent Mr. Kit-ze a new hat, with 
expressions of regret at what had happened, and with 
the assurance that the other hat had been destroyed. 

" For that is what he expects of us," Mr. Keid had 
said. "He drew the red chalk mark so as to confine 
the spirit within the hat, then left the hat for us to de- 
stroy, together with the spirit. All pure foolishness," 
he concluded, a little emphatically. "We'll just 
throw the hat aside. " 



22 THE EED MIRIOK 

" No, father," said Helen decisively, " we "will burn 
it." 

"And: thus encourage Mr. Kit-ze in his silliness?" 
asked Clarence. 

" In his superstition," corrected Mr. Eeid. 

"But it is all so real to him, poor man!" said 
Helen. And she continued, her eyes softening : " If it 
will make him feel better to know it is destroyed, isn't 
it worth while?" 

"Yes," assented Mallard heartily, "it is. We'll 
burn the hat, my Helen. I'm sure uncle won't ob- 
ject." 

" Oh, no," assented Mr. Keid. " If Helen wants to 
take the trouble, let her do it. ' ' 

A day or two later Mr. Kit-ze came again. He had 
on his new hat, and was in the best of humor. Es- 
pecially did his face express pleasure when Helen, car- 
rying him to a spot in the yard, showed him the small 
pile of ashes to which the hat had been reduced. He 
stooped hurriedly, gathered them up, and, holding 
them in his palms, blew his breath hard upon the mass, 
scattering it to the four winds. Then he grunted with 
satisfaction, and, going down on hands and knees, made 
Helen a series of the most profound bows. 

He had come to tell them that the sampan was ready, 
but on account of the great danger of the shoals near 
Seoul, they must make their arrangements to start from 
Han-Kang, four miles from the city. Themselves and 
their supplies could be transported thither by pony- 
back. Mr. Kit-ze further informed them that he had 



A HASTY DESERTION 23 

secured, as both interpreter and assistant boatman, one 
Mr. Cheefoo, a graduate of the government schools. 
He had recently fallen upon hard ways, and was glad 
enough to earn a little for himself, as well as to see 
some of the world, even if it were only his own country. 
Mr. Cheefoo would be sent to assist them with the load- 
ing, and to guide them to Han-Kang, where Mr. Kit-ze 
and the sampan would be found awaiting them. 

Mr. Chefoo came a day ahead of the time set for 
starting, for the supplies must be carefully packed into 
bales ere they could be loaded. He had too, some sug- 
gestions from Mr. Kit-ze as to what to take and how to 
take it. The selection of the necessary provisions and 
other supplies had cost them much thought and plan- 
ning. They knew they must not overload the sampan, 
as much as they might want to take some things. On 
the other hand was the danger of starting out with a 
too meagre supply. They finally decided on the fol- 
lowing : seventy-five pounds of flour, thirty pounds of 
rice, they expected to buy more of this on the way, 
a half-bushel of beans, a strip or two of dried beef, a 
small amount of meats in cans and of tomatoes for 
soups. 

' ' We can get eggs and vegetables from the country 
people," said Mr. Reid, who had traveled some in the 
interior districts, ' ' and there will be fish in the river to 
be caught." 

The other supplies consisted of a brazier for charcoal, 
a frying pan, saucepan, and kettle, some drinking mugs 
of stoneware, plates and soup plates of tin, knives, 



24 THE RED MIBIOK 

forks, and spoons, the latter of wood. Mallard had 
his camera, and Clarence the fine Winchester which 
his cousin had presented to him. In addition, each 
traveler carried a rubber coat, a pair of blankets, and 
two changes of underclothing. One thing they came 
near forgetting, but Mrs. Reid's forethought caused 
them to include it among the stores almost at the last 
minute. This was a little case of medicines. 

It was an excited and happy party that rode away 
from the mission house early on the following Tuesday 
morning. In addition to Mr. Reid, Mallard, Helen, 
Clarence, and Joyce, there were Mr. Wilburn, a young 
missionary from another station, and his sister, Dorothy, 
a very dear friend of Helen. Indeed, for two years 
past the girls had been almost inseparable. Mr. Reid's 
native assistant in the mission work and his wife were 
to be the companions of Mrs. Reid and her sister during 
the two weeks the party expected to be away. 

They moved through the narrow streets, so narrow 
that it was necessary to go in single file. Even that 
was difficult at times, for, though the hour was early, 
a mass of people was beginning to stir abroad. Along 
each side of some of the streets ran a gutter, green 
with slime and thick with all manner of putrid matter. 
The low mud huts, with their queer, horse-shoe shaped 
straw roofs, were set so close to this it seemed that any 
one coming out of the door must fall into the slime if 
he were not careful. All along the streets dogs and 
children were tumbling about, sometimes rolling the 
one over the other. Even the close observer would 



A HASTY DESERTION 25 

have found it hard to decide which was the dirtier, dog 
or child. 

' ' Oh, my, the dirty youngsters ! ' ' exclaimed Mallard, 
as he picked his pony's way gingerly along, sometimes 
finding it quite difficult to keep from riding right upon 
a squirming little mass of humanity. ' ' Where are the 
mothers," he continued, " to let them run so into dan- 
ger?" 

' ' You will soon find out, Mallard, ' ' replied his uncle, 
' ' that the Korean woman has her hands too full of the 
major duties of washing and ironing to attend with any 
degree of success to the minor one of looking after her 
children. There ! do you not hear that strange rat-ta- 
tat noise ? That is made by the wooden club coming 
down upon the garment wrapped about its iron cylinder. 
Wherever you go over Seoul, at almost any hour, day 
or night, you can hear that familiar sound. It denotes 
the Korean slave-wife's battle with the white clothes of 
her lord and master, which must receive a certain 
amount of gloss, or there will be a storm in the do- 
mestic sky." 

As they came out through the massive stone arches 
of the great South Gate, its lofty drum chamber with 
tiled roof overhead, a new world seemed to burst upon 
them. They could see plainly now the line of moun- 
tains and the nearer circlet of hills, the latter flower- 
crowned and sparkling like jewels in the golden light 
of the sun. Brilliant, indeed, was the coloring where 
the rich clusters of azaleas grew, and the tangled 
masses of clematis and honeysuckles. Butterflies and 



26 THE BED MIR10K 

dragon- flies flitted through the air ; numerous ducks 
and geese hovered along the edge of the river, now 
alighting and skimming the water for a few moments, 
then dipping wing to fly away. Flocks of cranes waded 
in and out of the shallow places, hunting for small fish 
to seize. All around was the beauty and the glory of the 
spring, matchless skies, bursting flowers, and singing 
birds, such a spring as makes Seoul and its surround- 
ings a joy to eye and heart, never to be surpassed, al- 
ways to be remembered. 

They took the path along the river, and in a little 
more than an hour's time had reached Han-Kang, 
where they found Mr. Kit-ze and the sampan, both in 
fine trim and ready to be off. Mr. Kit-ze had changed 
his white clothing for his boatman's suit, which con- 
sisted of a blouse and Turkish trousers of coarse blue 
cotton cloth. He was very proud of his sampan, and 
insisted on showing them its various fine points as well 
as dwelling upon them. 

"Never has such a craft gone up the waters," he 
declared ; and indeed it did look workmanlike along- 
side of those usually seen on Korean streams. To begin, 
it had two very essential qualities it was strongly made 
and it was well calked throughout. From fore to aft 
it measured thirty-six feet, was seven in width at its 
widest portion, and drew six to seven inches of water. 

At Mr. Reid's request, Mr. Kit-ze had rigged up a 
new and a more substantial roof along the ridgepole 
and its supporting framework. This was composed of 
thick, water-tight mats of tough grass. There "were 



A HASTY DESERTION 27 

also curtains of the same material that could be fas- 
tened along the sides in case of rain or when the glare 
of the sun was too strong. This roof was only about 
five feet from the floor of the sampan, so that it was 
very plain to all eyes that most of its occupants would 
have to content themselves with sitting or with standing 
in a stooping posture. The boat had five compart- 
ments, three of them from seven to eight feet long, and 
the other two only small affairs indeed. One of the 
latter was in the bow of the boat and the other at the 
stern. Here the boatmen stood to pole the boat during 
the day, and in them they curled down to sleep at 
night, each rolled in a straw mat and with the side of 
the boat as a pillow. 

"All hands to the stores!" announced Mr. Keid. 
" The more quickly we have them in and are off the 
better. The sun will be pretty warm after a while. ' ' 

Mr. Chefoo had brought along a young man to carry 
the ponies back, and he too was anxious to begin his 
return journey. So all hands set to with a will, even 
Helen and Dorothy assisting ' ' like good fellows, ' ' as 
Clarence expressed it. 

Mr. Kit-ze, following Mr. Keid's instructions, had 
previously carried aboard the sampan a supply of char- 
coal and some bundles of faggots. It was only the 
stores brought by the ponies that now had to be 
loaded. 

One thing amused Mallard greatly. This was the 
shape in which most of their money to be spent on the 
way had to be brought, strung on cords of straw. And 



28 



THE BED MIEIOK 



the amount had proved almost a full burden for one 
pony, though in all it was only about twenty dollars. 
What queer looking coins they were ! of copper, with 
a small square hole through their center. 




" 'YES, ONLY A LITTLE, FOE IT TAKES NEARLY THEEE THOUSAND 
OF THEM TO MAKE A DOLLAR.' " 

" This is our often abused but ever available ' cash,' " 
said Mr. Reid, holding up one of the crude bits of 
metal for Mallard to see. "As there are no bankers 
or money changers on the way, we must take it with 



A HASTY DESERTION 29 

us, for it is the only coin accepted in the rural dis- 
tricts. We must have a little ready money with us," 
he added. 

"Oh, uncle, you call that a little?" and Mallard 
pointed to the pony with his burden of coin. 

"Yes, only a little, for it takes nearly three thou- 
sand of them to make a dollar. ' ' 

Mallard recalled his uncle's words now, as he was 
helping to store the coin away in what Helen and Doro- 
thy had termed the sitting room of the sampan. 

He had turned to address a merry remark to Helen 
when he was struck by the appearance of Mr. Kit-ze. 
The boatman had stopped in the midst of something he 
was doing as suddenly as though he had felt the force 
of an electric shock. He had thrown his head up and 
was now clutching nervously at the folds of his blouse. 
Almost at the moment that Mallard's eyes were di- 
rected upon him he uttered a sharp little cry. It was 
of sufficient compass to reach the ears of the others. 
As their eyes too were turned upon him, what was the 
astonishment of all to see Mr. Kit-ze the next moment 
rush up the bank to where one of the ponies, with 
empty saddle, was standing, and flinging himself upon 
it, go galloping away like one suddenly out of his 
senses. 



CHAPTEE III 



THE LOST RECOVERED 

EXCLAMATIONS of 

astonishment and of 
dismay followed Mr. 
Kit-ze. "What can 
he mean ? ' ' asked Mr. 
Reid, his eyes fixed in 
wonder upon the fast- 
retreating form of his 
boatman. ' ' He surely 
hasn't deserted us ! " 

"It evidently looks 
that way," replied Mr. 
Wilburn. 

" Now we are in a box ! " exclaimed Clarence. 
' ' How are we to go on without our sampan man ? ' ' 

"Well, we have the sampan," remarked Mallard 
cheerfully. "The only other thing now is to look 
out for some one to take charge of it. ' ' 

"Easier said than accomplished," commented Mr. 
Reid. "Besides, though Mr. Kit-ze has deserted us, 
yet the sampan is his. We can't take possession with- 
out his consent." 

" He has forfeited his right to protest against such a 

30 




THE tlOST RECOVERED 31 

j 1 ' 

step," declared Mr. Wilburn, "by his desertion and 
breach of contract. I am for taking possession of the 
sampan, engaging some one to have charge of it, 
assisted by Mr. Chefoo here, then allowing Mr. Kit-ze 
so much for its use. " 

"But a competent sampan man is hard to find," 
said Mr. Eeid. "That was why I stuck to Mr. 
Kit-ze." 

" Oh, but it is too bad to lose our trip ! " exclaimed 
Mr. Wilburn, ' ' especially when so much relating to our 
work depends on it," and he looked wistfully at Mr. 
Reid. 

"Yes, too bad," assented Mallard. 

" Oh, we must go," declared Clarence. 

Even Helen and Dorothy were for going on, that is, 
if satisfactory arrangements could be made. 

"But maybe Mr. Kit-ze will return," suggested 
Helen. 

"Yes," said Mr. Chefoo, who now spoke for the 
first time, "he will return." All turned to look at 
him inquiringly. He had spoken very positively. 

" What makes you say that ? " 

' ' Because, honorable sirs, he went away as one who 
will come back. There was no parting word. He will 
return." 

" He didn't have sense for any parting word," com- 
mented Clarence. "It seemed all taken from him." 

"No," asserted Mr. Chefoo, "it was only the ex- 
citement that comes when one knows there has been a 
loss." 



32 THE RED MIEIOK 

" ' A loss ' ! " echoed Clarence. 

" Yes ; Mr. Kit-ze has either lost something of very 
great value, for which he has now gone to make search, 
or else he has forgotten something that he has gone to 
bring. It is one or the other as you will in time dis- 
cover, son of the honorable teacher." 

" But why act in that demented way ? Couldn't he 
have explained to us, and then gone after it in a re- 
spectable fashion ? " 

" It was something by which he set so great a store, 
youthful sir, that he was overcome by what its loss 
signified to him. I should say," continued Mr. Chefoo, 
" that it is something without which he could not pro- 
ceed, or without which he " 

Here Mr. Chefoo paused. 

"Well?" asked Clarence. 

" Without which he would fear to go on." 

" I see ! " exclaimed Mr. Eeid. " It was " 

"Let me finish, father," cried Clarence. "It was 
the red miriok. That old crank has either left it or 
lost it. Now we must be tied up here waiting his 
pleasure." 

. "Yes," said Mr. Reid in a disgusted manner, "it 
was the red miriolc that carried him off in that de- 
mented way ; I am sure of it. But don't call him a 
crank so boldly, Clarence. It would offend him should 
he hear it." 

"Well, what else is he? It is just too bad to be 
deserted in this way and for such silliness. Oh, I wish 
that the red miriolc was in the bottom of the river." 



THE LOST KECOVERED 33 

"Then, we'd never get Mr. Kit-ze to proceed," 
assured Mr. Wilburn, who by this time had heard the 
story of the red miriok; " or at least not until its coun- 
terpart was procured. But we can't stay here," he 
continued. " We must, at least, try getting on to the 
next village. There Mr. Kit-ze can join us. We'll 
leave word for him. This is a very objectionable local- 
ity for more reasons than one, and the sooner we move 
away from it the better." 

In the meanwhile a large crowd had gathered, both 
on the river bank and in the shallow water surround- 
ing the sampan. All were agape with curiosity. It is 
a well-known saying in Korea, and one the truth of 
which travelers have often proved, that if you move 
on, very little comment is excited ; but if you stand 
still and appear to be engaged in anything, or even to 
be looking at an object, curiosity of the most intense 
kind is aroused. It takes but a minute or two then for 
the crowd to gather around you, each individual mem- 
ber thereof following anxiously the glance of your eye 
and hanging with almost breathless intent upon every 
movement of hand or leg. 

There were women and children in the crowd as well 
as men. The former were so overcome by their curios- 
ity that they had for the time forgotten to keep their 
long, green coats close up about their eyes, which is the 
custom when women are abroad in Korea. They now 
hung loosely about their necks, the long, wide sleeves 
that are rarely used swinging over their shoulders. 

An old woman with much vigor of speech offered 



34 THE RED MI&IOR 

them barley sugar for sale. She was very dirty, and 
her wares looked as uninviting as herself. But feeling 
sorry for her, Helen invested quite liberally in the bar- 
ley sugar, immediately bestowing it upon a little group 
of open-mouthed children who stood near. In some 
way the old woman had caught a part, at least, of the 
situation. She seemed to comprehend that they were 
at a loss whether to go on or to stay. In return for 
Helen's graciousness she came to the rescue by suggest- 
ing that they send for a mutang (sorceress) who lived 
near. She would come with her drum and cymbals, 
her wand and divination box, 1 and in a little while she 
could tell them what to do. 

The sun was now climbing nearer and nearer the 
meridian, and its rays were growing unpleasantly warm. 
More than an hour had been wasted since the loading 
of the sampan. They had burned the bridge behind 
them, as the saying is, by sending the man back to the 
city with the ponies. There was nothing now but to 
go on, even if they had to turn back in the midst of 
the journey. 

Mr. Chefoo was the good fairy that came to the res- 
cue. He seemed to regret Mr. Kit-ze's behavior 
keenly, and to be deeply sympathetic with the sampan 
party in its desire so plainly expressed to be off on the 
journey. He was a big, good-natured fellow, strong 
and hearty looking, with a clear eye and with much 

1 A box in which are carried three or more coins with characters 
stamped upon them. The coins are cast upward three times, falling 
again into the box. The combination of characters each time gives 
the mutang her clue to the divination or prediction. 



THE LOST KECOVERED 35 

intelligence expressed upon his face. He had too, a 
pretty fair scope of English, \vhich made his attend- 
ance all the more satisfactory and agreeable. 

Mr. Kit-ze, he continued to assure them, would re- 
turn. He felt certain of it. They "would leave word 
for him and proceed to the next town, since this one 
was so objectionable with its foul smells and its rather 
rough-looking population. The first step then, was to 
hire a man to help him pole, as he felt certain he, Mr. 
Chefoo, could direct the movements of the sampan up 
to the next village. There were no rapids of any con- 
siderable danger in the way. 

"All right, Mr. Chefoo," said Mr. Reid. "Go 
ahead and hire your man, but be sure he is one on 
whom we can rely." 

"I'll have a care to that, honorable teacher," as- 
sured Mr. Chefoo. 

The first man approached declared that he couldn't 
go, as his wife needed him to sit and watch her while she 
washed the clothes. The second one said he must first 
ask his mother and, as she lived two villages away, they 
must wait until the following morning ere he could 
give them his answer. The third wished to know if he 
would be permitted to take as many as seven suits of 
clothes with him, as he could do with no less ; also if 
provision would be made for their washing and iron- 
ing along the way. On being assured that no such 
concession could be granted he went away much ag- 
grieved. 

Another said he would gladly attend them as their 



36 THE EED MIRIOK 

poleman if they would promise not to tie up anywhere 
along the bank where there were tigers, or even where 
tigers were known to have been on the surrounding 
hills. As they could give no such promise with the 
prospect of fulfilling it, he too had to be dismissed 
without an engagement. He then tried to drive a sale 
with them of two tiger bones at three hundred ' ' cash ' ' 
each, warranted to give strength and courage. As 
they hadn't the faith he had in the efficacy of the 
commodity, the purchase was declined. Another hour 
and more slipped by in this way. 

Things were growing lively, if they were somewhat 
monotonous, for a great crowd was now surging about 
Mr. Chefoo, Mr. Keid, and Mr. Wilburn. The boat- 
man had them with him for the purpose of consulta- 
tion. To add to the hubbub a string of oxen and 
their drivers on their way to the city, the backs of the 
oxen piled with mountains of brushwood, had drawn 
near the men, the drivers overcome by curiosity at the 
sight of the crowd. Between their yells and shouts to 
the oxen and their noisy salutations passed to those 
they knew, there was a babel indeed. 

In the very midst of these sounds came a sudden 
cry, sufficiently loud and prolonged to attract the 
attention of many. While the bargaining with the 
would-be polemen went on, the young people had 
gathered within the sitting room of the sampan, that 
is, all with the exception of Clarence. He had 
stretched himself along the stern of the boat. His 
head was lying on his hand upheld by the elbow. 



THE LOST EECOVEKED 37 

Thus it was considerably elevated, and thus he had a 
fair view of the water all around the sampan. 

The Han is often called the Eiver of Golden Sands. 
It is a clear, bright stream, its bed covered with thick 
layers of white sand. Along this sand particles of 
golden-hued gravel sparkle in the sunlight as though 
they were the pure metal itself. In many places, even 
of considerable depth, the bottom of the river is 
plainly seen. Where the sampan lay there was only 
the depth of about two feet of water. This had for a 
time been stirred into some degree of murkiness by the 
feet of those who pressed curiously about the sampan. 
But as the crowd had now withdrawn to the bank, 
where Mr. Ghefoo bargained with the polemen, the 
river had cleared. 

As Clarence lay along the stern of the boat glancing 
down into the water, his attention was suddenly attrac- 
ted by something that rested at the top of a little hil- 
lock of sand. First its shape, then its color arrested 
his gaze. The next moment there came that wild 
shout from him, a compromise between a station-mas- 
ter's train call and an Indian warwhoop. Then those 
whose attention was now riveted upon him saw him 
hastily throw off his coat, his shoes and stockings and, 
quickly rolling up sleeves and trousers, spring into the 
water. An instant later he held up something in his 
hand, his shirt sleeve dripping with the water. 

" The red miriok ! " he cried. " See ! Mr. Kit-ze 
must have dropped it as he leaned over packing the 
things." 



38 THE EEC MIEIOK 

Yes, it was the red miriok. 

" Oh, its eyes are shinier than ever ! " cried Joyce. 
"Guess that's cause the water washed 'em. It's the 




"YES, IT WAS THE RED MIEIOK! " 

same horrid, ugly thing I've seen Mr. Kit-ze pressing 
in his hands." 

"Oh," said Helen, "if Mr. Kit-ze could only 
know ! " Even as she spoke, Mr. Kit-ze was seen com- 
ing rapidly toward the river. 



CHAPTEK IV 




A STOWAWAY 

r R. KIT-ZE had left the 
pony in town and now 
came on at a rapid 
dog-trot. He was cov- 
ered with dust and 
perspiration, and his 
hair, which had been 
shaken from its knot, 
was nowpartly hanging 
in much disorder down 
his back. When he 
had first rushed away, 

it had been with the thought that the miriolc had been 
left at home, that it had in all probability dropped 
from his clothing as he slept. But as a rigid search 
failed to reveal it, he at length came to the conclu- 
sion that he had dropped it in or near the river while 
helping to load the sampan. He had stooped over 
many times, he knew. Why hadn't he thought of 
that ere coming away? Yes, the first search ought, 
by all means, to have been made in and around the 
sampan. But then he had been so excited over his 
loss he hadn't taken the time to reason about it at all. 

39 



40 THE RED MIEIOK 

Now he would nasten back to the boat and resume 
there the search for the miriok. Oh, he must find it, 
or failing, secure another like it. He could not think 
of going on the journey without his miriok, for would 
not disaster be sure to befall him if he did ? But where 
was such another as this miriok to be had ? As he re- 
called with what difficulty this one had been secured, 
Mr. Kit-ze grew more and more excited over his loss. 
Oh, he must return to the river at once ! as there was a 
chance that he had dropped the miriok there. 

Thus Mr. Kit-ze, coming in sight of the sampan, saw 
Clarence standing in the water and holding something 
at arm's length over which all were exclaiming. It 
took only a steady glance to show him what it was. 
The next moment, Avith a ringing cry, he endeavored 
to increase his pace, lost his footing, and went rolling 
doAvn the slope, stopping just at the water's edge. It 
was Helen who reached him as he regained his feet. 
She had taken the miriok from Clarence, and was holding 
it toward Mr. Kit-ze, saying in her softest, gentlest tones: 

" Here, Mr. Kit-ze, is something of yours that Clar- 
ence has found in the river. We were so sorry when 
we knew you had lost it, and are glad now that it can 
be returned to you. ' ' 

With a little cry of delight he took the miriok from 
her, clasped it against his breast, prostrating himself 
before her almost to the ground. This he did the second 
and even the third time. 

The sudden coming of Mr. Kit-ze, his mishap, and 
the scene that followed between him and Helen on the 



A STOWAWAY 41 

river bank had formed considerable of a diversion for a 
part of the crowd. Even the excitement of Mr. Che- 
foo's still unsatisfactory interviews with the polemen 
had, for a time, paled before this newer and greater 
one. Ere she could extricate herself Helen was sur- 
rounded by quite a rabble. Many faces were pressing 
up about her, but there was one that attracted her at- 
tention in such a way that it startled her. It was a 
somewhat worn and haggard face, with restless, piercing 
eyes, and a nervous twitching of the lips that impressed 
itself upon Helen the moment she saw it. She noticed 
that its owner's gaze soon left her face and fixed itself 
in the direction of Mr. Kit-ze. The eyes had now a 
startled look. They were fastened upon the miriok that 
Mr. Kit-ze was still holding against his breast, but in 
such a way that it showed plainly. Helen noted this 
riveted gaze, as she also saw his lips moving. By this 
time her position had become very unpleasant. She 
felt too, a little chill of fear as she looked at this man. 
Was his mind upset? However, Mr. Kit-ze, having 
recovered his senses along with his mirioJc, was equal to 
the emergency. He safely conducted her out of the 
surging crowd and to the sampan. 

Mr. Eeid and Mr. Wilburn, with Mr. Chefoo, being 
informed of the return of Mr. Kit-ze, joined them as 
rapidly as they could in view of the crowd that bore 
them company at the sampan. Considerable satisfaction 
was expressed at the finding of the miriok, though the 
two missionaries some hours later expressed themselves 
quite vigorously to each other on the subject. 



42 THE RED MIRIOK 

Mr. Kit-ze, who had by this time profusely apologized 
for his sudden departure, was as anxious as the others 
to be off. There was no need to delay another moment, 
he assured them. He motioned to Mr. Chefoo to take 
his place in the stern, while he, grasping his long pole, 
took a similar position in the bow. 

' ' Hurrah ! ' ' cried Joyce, ' ' we are off at last. ' ' 

He stood up in his delight, clapping his hands and, 
as the boat was given a sudden turn at that moment, he 
assuredly would have tumbled over the side into the 
river had not Mallard caught him. 

' ' Better keep your eye on the polemen hereafter, ' ' 
Clarence advised him, "ere you try any acrobatic per- 
formances on a sampan." 

They found some difficulty in getting away from the 
crowd, many of whom followed the sampan for some 
distance into the water. These Mallard finally turned 
back by the happy thought carried into execution of 
tossing a handful of "cash" toward the shore. The 
last they saw of the village was the scrambling forms in 
the water, and the line of low hovels, built of mud- 
smeared wattle, with no vestige of windows and with 
their black smokeholes plainly denned. 

Yes, they were off at last, really afloat on the glorious 
Han, the river ,of Korea, which, in two branches, sweeps 
almost across the peninsula, forming two great water- 
ways, navigable for flat-bottomed craft for more than 
two hundred miles. 

They found the river teeming with moving life. In 
addition to the flatboats there were many junks passing 



A STOWAWAY 43 

back and forth, for the Han is the great artery of com- 
merce for the eastern provinces. Those going into the 
city were laden with produce, pottery, bundles of fag- 
gots for firewood, and the like, Avhile those coming out 
held cargoes of merchandise, both home and foreign, 
and salt from the seacoast. 

Some of these junks were very old. They carried pro- 
digious sails, despite their rotten timbers, and looked as 
though they might turn over at any moment. The most 
of them creaked horribly, and when our friends in the 
sampan heard one for the first time, they thought for a 
moment it was some great beast in terrible pain. When 
they found out their mistake a hearty laugh went 
around. 

Though the sun was now quite high, and its rays very 
warm, yet Mr. Kit-ze knew the stream so well that he 
could keep near to the bank. Thus for much of the way 
they had the shade from the trees and from the over- 
hanging bluffs. They found their curtains too, much 
protection. Their little sitting room was very cozy and 
comfortable. Helen had brought some oilcloth matting 
for the floor of the sampan, and a little oil stove that 
they could light when the air was damp and disagree- 
able. Here too were cushions, one or two folding 
chairs, and the bedding which the girls were to use at 
night, together with the oilskin cases in which they 
kept their clothing, a small supply of books, writing 
materials, etc. In the next compartment forward Mr. 
Reid and Mr. Wilburn had stored their effects, as they 
were to occupy it jointly at night. Here all would dine 



44 THE BED MIBIOK. 

when they were afloat ; here too, the service of morn- 
ing and evening prayer would be held. The three 
boys slept and kept their effects in the compartment 
just behind that of the girls. The straw roof along 
the ridgepole extended over all, even for a part of the 
way over the small, boxlike quarters of the two boat- 
men. In addition our party was provided with oil- 
cloths for the better protection of the stores, and with 
mosquito netting. 

' ' This is fine, even finer than sailing on the Hudson 
at home ! ' ' declared Dorothy, her eyes sparkling with 
enthusiasm. 

' ' Or the noble Mississippi, down in our Southland, ' ' 
added Helen. " How pleasant this is ! Oh, I had 
no idea it could be so delightful ! " 

" You just wait, my sister, until you strike some of 
the rapids," admonished Clarence, his face taking on a 
very solemn expression, " and begin to roll about like 
loose apples in a cart, or find your feet hanging where 
your head ought to be. Then I'm no prophet if you 
don't completely change your form of expression. ' ' 

" Oh, for shame ! " cried both girls in a breath. 

"I think it is real mean of you," declared Helen, 
" to try to spoil our enjoyment of the present by intro- 
ducing into it the suggestion of those terrible things 
that await us. As for myself, I believe in enjoying 
what is sweet and good while we have it, without bor- 
rowing trouble with reference to what is in the future. ' ' 

"A philosophy in which I heartily agree," said 
Dorothy. 



A STOWAWAY 45 

There was indeed much to make the trip delightful, 
for the beauties of the spring were all around them, in 
the sky, in the water, in the green knolls overhanging 
the river. The stream continued to be quite shallow. 
At some places it gurgled over the rocks only a foot or 
so below the sampan. They came now and then to 
where the cattle waded knee deep in the lush grasses. 
These turned to view them in mild-eyed astonishment 
as they passed by chatting and laughing, then went on 
with their grazing. Flocks of mandarin ducks and 
wild geese fleAV by ; some of the latter even swam close 
to -the sampan. There were too, numbers of the im- 
perial crane, and once in a while a pink ibis wading 
along the edge of a rice field. 

Clarence took his gun to shoot one of these, but 
Helen and Dorothy began to beg for its life. " We 
don't want to eat it, so why destroy it? " asked Helen. 

"Oh, wouldn't you girls like a wing each for your 
hats? " asked Clarence a little mischievously. 

"Oh, no indeed," declared Dorothy. "No bird 
wing for me ! You know that well enough, Master 
Clarence," and she looked at him reprovingly. 

"Well, the truth is," confessed Clarence, "I want 
it for my cabinet. I know a young Japanese in Seoul 
who has promised to show me how to stuff all I bring 
back. In the meantime he has taught me how to pre- 
serve them while on the trip. ' ' 

" If you must do it then in in the cause of science," 
and here Helen looked at him quizzingly, "wait until 
we can't see you commit the murder, won't you ? " 



46 THE BED MIEIOK 

' ' All right, ' ' assented Clarence cheerfully. ' ' But 
see here, sister," with earnest protest, "don't call it 
murder. ' ' 

"Well, the cruelty of sport then," corrected Helen. 

At that moment a shout from Joyce attracted their 
attention. "Oh, look at the pheasants!" he cried. 
' ' Quick ! Clarence, I know you can shoot one or more 
of them if you try." 

Sure enough, there were the pheasants right along 
the edge of the rice field, fine, fat fellows, and many 
of them. 

"Be careful," warned Mr. Keid. "Examine the 
surroundings well before you fire. There might be 



some one near. ' ' 



Assured that there was not, Clarence raised his gun. 
"Beg pardon, girls," he said slyly, as he adjusted it 
to his shoulder. "Pheasants are so good to eat. " 

They gave a little exclamation, then quickly covered 
both eyes and ears. The next moment a report rang 
out, followed instantly by another. When the smoke 
cleared away five of the birds were seen in their last 
flutterings. 

" Now, how are we to get them? " asked Mallard. 

"Why, sure enough, I didn't think of that ! " ex- 
claimed Clarence in dismay. "We can't carry the 
sampan close enough, that's certain." 

Mr. Chefoo was now seen throwing off his sandals 
and rolling up his pantaloons, while Mr. Kit-ze, hold- 
ing the sampan steady by means of his long pole, was 
giving him some directions. The next moment Mr. 



A STOWAWAY 



47 



Chefoo sprang over the side of the sampan and into the 
water. He slipped once or twice as he was trying to 
make headway over the rocks, and two or three times 




HE BEGAN TO SHAKE HIM VIGOROUSLY. 

also, he was seen to mire ; but notwithstanding these 
difficulties he reached the birds all right, and was soon re- 
turning with them. As he came again to the side of the 
sampan it was toward the compartment occupied by the 
boys, the one in the rear of that in which all had been 



48 THE BED MIRIOK 

sitting since the boat left Han-Kang. He placed his 
hand upon the side of the boat to vault upward, but as 
he did so a quick exclamation escaped him, which the 
next moment changed to a decided whoop as Mr. Che- 
foo landed full in the compartment. A second or so 
later what was the astonishment of all when he dragged 
into view by the neck of his blouse a man, and began 
to shake him vigorously. To Helen was given some- 
thing more than astonishment. Her heart leaped up, 
then almost ceased to beat. For the face exposed to 
view by Mr. Chefoo was the same she had seen on the 
river bank at Han-Kang with the glittering eyes fixed 
upon the red mirioJc Mr. Kit-ze held. 



CHAPTEE V 




BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 

|HE man made no effort 
to resist Mr. Che- 
foo, neither did he 
offer a word of 
protest, but stood 
silent and sullen, 
his lean face leaner 
than ever in its 
side view, his eyes 
half closed and 
gazing steadily downward. 

" The rogue ! " cried Mr. Wilburn. " He was there 
for no good purpose. Come, sir, what have you to say 
for yourself? " 

But still the culprit made no answer. He only raised 
his eyes and let them sweep past Mr. Wilburn, past 
them all to Mr. Kit-ze, and rest there with a deep and 
burning glance. 

"Speak to him, Mr. Kit-ze," said Mr. Eeid. 

"Find out what was his object in concealing himself 

in the sampan. It may be," he continued charitably, 

" that he wanted to steal a ride to one of the villages." 

But Mr. Kit-ze, instead of obeying this request, 

D 49 



50 THE EED MIKIOK 

shifted himself a little farther away from the man, and 
seemed to be intent on something in the river. 

" I think Mr. Kit-ze doesn't want to get mixed up 
in any trouble," said Mr. Wilburn in an undertone. 
' ' He probably fears it may end in his having to appear 
before a magistrate. That always means a fine, you 
know, whether one is in the right or the wrong. It is 
evident, brother, that we must adjust this matter our- 
selves with Mr. Chefoo's help, since Mr. Kit-ze plainly 
doesn't want to take a hand in it. ' ' 

But neither threats nor persuasions could elicit a 
word of reply from the man. Even Mr. Chefoo's fine 
speeches failed. 

"Can he be deaf and dumb?" asked Mr. Reid 
finally. 

" No, father, he is not," replied Helen positively. 

All eyes were now quickly turned to her, astonish- 
ment plainly written on the faces. 

" Why, my daughter, how do you know ? " 

" Because, father, I saw him in the crowd that sur- 
rounded me for a few moments on the bank of the river 
at.Han-Kang. I distinctly heard him talking to him- 
self, though I could not understand the words. I 
thought at the time," she continued, "from the way in 
which he regarded Mr. Kit-ze, that they might be ac- 
quaintances." 

As Helen spoke these last words, she turned her head 
so as to get a view of Mr. Kit-ze, but he still persist- 
ently kept his face turned away, while he seemed to be 
making aimless search in the river with his pole. He 



BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 51 

was assuredly doing nothing toward the progress of the 
boat, since that still remained stationary in the little 
rocky inlet toward which he had dexterously steered it 
when Mr. Chefoo had started for the birds. 

Desiring that he should understand what Helen had 
suggested, Mr. Reid repeated it to him. The man was 
no acquaintance of his, Mr. Kit-ze emphatically declared. 

" I think we had better pitch him into the river," 
said Mr. Chefoo, " and leave him to get out as best he 



can." 



Yes, ' ' said Clarence, ' ' he deserves a ducking, if 



no more." 



"No, we won't be so cruel as that," Mr. Reid re- 
plied, "although he may have been after no good. 
We'll go ashore at the next village and leave him." 

"But first," said Clarence, "hadn't you better 
search him ? He may have taken something of value. ' ' 

' ' Yes, uncle, ' ' said Mallard, ' ' we ought to do that. ' ' 

To this both Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn consented ; 
but, though close investigation was made, nothing was 
found on the man, nothing, at least, to which they could 
lay claim. 

Mr. Reid gave the signal for the sampan to be headed 
again up the river. In the meanwhile, Clarence and 
Mallard kept watch upon the man, who had now as- 
sumed a squatting posture upon the floor of the sam- 
pan. To their surprise he began to mutter to himself. 
But even to Mr. Chefoo the words were unintelligible ; 
all except the part of one sentence. In this Mr. Che- 
foo said had occurred the words, ' ' Marble Pagoda, ' ' 



52 THE RED MIRIOK 

but he was evidently still as much mystified as the 
others. 

The village to which they soon came was one of con- 
siderable size, picturesquely situated in the midst of 
chestnut groves. There were too, many beautiful 
clumps of the umbrella pine over which vines of red 
and white roses luxuriantly abloom were running riot. 

A curious crowd swarmed around them at the land- 
ing. There were many in it who had never seen a for- 
eigner. The soft hair and white skins of our friends 
called forth the most intense curiosity. Ridiculous too, 
were some of the comments. Question after question 
was directed to them. Some of these Mr. Chefoo an- 
swered. To others he paid no attention. 

Who were they ? Whence had they come ? Were 
their families respectable ? Did their ancestors occupy 
tombs on the hillside ? Could they take off their eyes 
and pull out their teeth as it had been reported that 
they could? All of these and many more came in 
rapid succession. 

When it was learned that they wanted to put a man 
ashore a great hue and cry was at once raised, and it 
was positively declared that this could not be done until 
the magistrate was seen and consulted. Thereupon, the 
magistrate's runners, six in number, appeared and as- 
sumed control of their movements. These runners 
were gorgeous in light blue coats, wide pantaloons of 
white, and big hats with red tassels. 

Yes, the magistrate must be seen, they declared. 
Nothing else would do. In a rash moment Mr. Reid 



BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 53 

consented to see the magistrate. It is safe to say that 
had he known the result he would at once have headed 
his sampan off up the river again even with its objec- 
tionable occupant. 

It was finally arranged that Mr. Eeid, in company 
with Mr. Chefoo and the stowaway, should attend upon 
the magistrate while the others remained with the sam- 
pan. At the last moment Clarence begged to accom- 
pany his father, and consent was finally given. Mr. 
Eeid could see no reason why the stowaway should be 
carried along with them, as he had really done nothing 
for which he could be punished. Their only desire was 
to leave him ashore. But the runners persisted that 
it was necessary that he too should go before the jus- 
tice. 

The magistrate was seated on the floor of a small 
platform over which matting was spread. Around 
him, also squatting on their heels, were two or three 
of his assistants. The chief official had on a robe of 
deep blue silk, slashed to the waist at intervals, and 
with pipings of orange silk introduced between. Only 
a small portion of his crimson trousers was showing. 
On his head was perched a little hat of glazed horse- 
hair ornamented with crimson tassels. 

Mr. Eeid came into the room and very politely bowed 
to the magistrate, while Chefoo prostrated himself, as 
did the runners. Clarence, independent young Ameri- 
can that he was, contented himself with saying, ' ' Good 
day, sir, ' ' then began to use his eyes to their fullest ex- 
tent. 



54 



THE BED MIKIOK 



The magistrate took no notice of their presence. He 
merely remarked in a high key to his associates that 




CHEFOO PROSTBATED HIMSELF TO THE MAGISTRATE. 



foreigners were really demons, and that he couldn't see 
why they had ever been allowed in the country. As 
to himself, he had felt many times like setting up again, 



BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 55 

on his own responsibility, the tablets which, prior to 
the treaty, had declared that all foreigners were cut- 
throats and robbers, and should be killed on sight. 1 

Each of these sentences Mr. Chefoo cheerfully trans- 
lated to Mr. Eeid. 

"The old barbarian," declared Clarence. "I feel 
like giving him a shaking. ' ' 

The magistrate now deigned to become aware of their 
presence. ' ' Who are these who have dared to ap- 
proach me? " he asked in a big, off-hand way, but all 
the while he was nervously regarding Mr. Keid and 
Clarence. Foreigners, he knew from experience, were 
not always the chicken-hearted people they were de- 
clared to be. 

The runners told him. 

"Well, what is you name, and whence do your 
come? " was asked of Mr. Reid. 

The replies came readily. 

"How old are you? Has your father gone and 
left you ? and was he an honorable man ? ' ' 

To each of these, in turn, was given a cheerful re- 
sponse. 

' ' Well, what are you doing in the country, anyhow ? 
Do they know you are away ? Do you get a salary ? 
How much is it ? " 

After all these queries and many more had been 
answered to the magistrate's satisfaction, he deigned to 

1 Before the treaty of Korea with the United States, whi]e yet it was 
known as the Hermit Nation, tablets bearing inscriptions similar to that 
quoted by the magistrate were placed at intervals throughout the coun- 
try. 



56 THE BED MIRIOK 

hear the case that had been brought before him. When 
each detail had been gone over again and again, the 
magistrate put his head to one side, looked as wise as 
an owl for a few moments, and then proceeded to de- 
liver himself of his decision. 

By paying five Japanese yen (a yen is one dollar), 
the man could be left ashore ; but none of the rest 
could depart until he, the magistrate, visited the sam- 
pan and inspected its contents. He further added that 
he might come that evening if business permitted. If 
it did not, he would wait until morning. In the mean- 
time they were to remain tied up where they were un- 
der the supervision of the runners. 

On Mr. Reid's protesting against the injustice of 
having to pay such an amount for the mere privilege of 
putting a native ashore who had concealed himself in 
his sampan, the magistrate retorted by assuring him 
that he would then charge him, the missionary, that 
amount for having come ashore himself without first 
having communicated with him, the magistrate. Mr. 
Reid knew very well that such a proceeding was far 
from legal, as he had his passport which he had shown, 
but at the same time he felt it would be better for many 
reasons to pay the amount than to contest the point. 

Fortunately, Mr. Reid had provided himself with a 
few of these valuable Japanese coins, which he carried 
on his person ; otherwise he would have been subjected 
to the further delay of sending to the sampan, as the 
magistrate at once let it be understood that he could 
not depart until the amount was in hand. 



BEFOEE THE MAGISTRATE 57 

On their return to the sampan they found that the 
others too, had been having trials in their absence. 
The curiosity of the crowd had now become almost 
unendurable. Men, women, and children had even 
climbed upon the sampan. They had inspected every- 
thing. The two girls had called forth the deepest ex- 
citement and curiosity. It was their hair that caused 
the most comment, especially Helen's ; it Avas so soft 
and bright. For Helen's hair, though her eyes were 
dark, Avas of a light chestnut color. One Avoman had 
even gone so far as to offer a dozen eggs for a piece of 
it. Then she Avanted to handle it, but this Helen de- 
clined. The Avoman's eyes and her manner made her 
nervous. But Dorothy, more assured than Helen, 
took hers from its fastenings, shaking it about her 
shoulders, then stood beyond reach of the outstretched 
hands, laughing merrily at the expressions of counte- 
nance and the some\vhat Avild gesticulations. 

"Oh, Dorothy, how can you do that?" remon- 
strated Helen. 

" If it gives the poor things any enjoyment, I don't 
mind, ' ' replied Dorothy. 

"But don't you see that the sight of it that way ex- 
cites them the more? " 

"Oh, it's good asashoAV," declared Joyce, almost 
shouting out in his delight. " Don't you mind sister, 
Miss Dorothy." 

Things were in this hub-bub when Mr. Keid, Clar- 
ence, and the runners appeared. Mr. Eeid joined in 
the effort to induce the people to withdraw from the 



58 THE BED MIEIOK 

sampan, but without success. Then the thought struck 
him that he wonld appeal to the runners. It is safe to 
say he hadn't the least conception of the result or, 
much as he wanted to get rid of the people, he would 
have hesitated. 

The runners at once charged pell-mell upon the surg- 
ing crowd, shouting and yelling as though they were 
seeking to stampede a herd of cattle. Big hats, green 
coats, topknots, and wide trousers were soon jumbled 
together in a series of kaleidoscopic flashes, then quiet 
reigned once more around the sampan. The runners 
had done them this much good, if no more. 

The sun had almost disappeared behind the neigh- 
boring hills, and the night, traveling fast in that region, 
would soon be upon them. Still the magistrate had 
not appeared. They felt now that he would not come 
until morning. They were much provoked. Mr. 
Kit-ze especially showed displeasure. He had planned 
to reach the next town ere tying up for the night. 
There had already been too much delay at Han-Kang. 
He felt considerable compunction over this, and had 
been doing his best ever since to make up for lost time, 
and now felt thoroughly exasperated over this unneces- 
sary detention. But there was no other course save to 
await the magistrate's pleasure. 

Supper eaten, with curious eyes all around watching 
their every movement, Mr. Reid prepared for the even- 
ing service. "We will go ashore," he said to Mr. 
Wilburn, "and take Mr. Chefoo. The others can 
join in from the sampan." 



BEFORE THE MAGISTRATE 59 

They had no trouble to gather the people about 
them. Great was the wonder that spread as the serv- 
ices proceeded. A hymn was sung, a prayer made, 
a Bible lesson read, which Mr. Chefoo explained. 
Then with Mr. Chefoo still as interpreter, Mr. Keid 
began to speak to them. His words were about Jesus, 
our one ever -loving, steadfast friend. Exclamations of 
surprise, then of interest, began to be heard. " Could 
it be possible," they asked each other, " that there was 
One in the world who could love as this one loved? 
who could and did give his friendship ' without money 
and without price ' ? " 

As Mr. Reid ceased speaking, an old man approached 
him. Would the honorable teacher tell him again the 
name of this wonderful Friend ? When told he kept 
repeating it over and over. Other touching incidents 
occurred. Many questions were asked. When Mr. 
Reid lay down to sleep that night, it was with the 
happy feeling that more than a passing impression had 
been made upon some hearts, as it was also with the 
determination that he would come again to break the 
bread of life to these hungry souls. 

Even when the crowd had left the sampan, scattered 
by the impetuosity of the runners, Helen still felt ner- 
vous. The persistency with which the women had 
pressed about Dorothy and herself, their incoherent 
words, burning glances, and fierce gestures had wrought 
her up to a high pitch of excitement. It was a long 
while ere she could go to sleep, even though her father 
assured her that it was to the interest of the runners to 



60 THE KED MIEIOK 

keep close watch upon the sampan. When at last 
Helen fell into slumber, it was to be disturbed by un- 
pleasant dreams. In the midst of one of these she 
awakened with a start. She surely was conscious now, 
and what a moment of horror it was ! for a rough 
hand was feeling its way along the meshes of her hair, 
a voice she knew from both tone and accent was no 
friendly one, was muttering in a manner that made her 
heart almost stop its beating. 



CHAPTEE VI 



A FRIENDLY HAIL 

ELEN'S first impulse was 
to scream, but with a 
great effort she con- 
trolled herself. Then, 
reaching up quickly, 
she grasped the hand 
between both of her 
own, holding on to it 
tightly. Instantly 
there was a frightened 
exclamation, and a vio- 
lent movement on the 
other side of the straw curtain almost against which 
Helen's head lay. The next moment, the hand was 
wrenched away, and she heard a heavy splash in the 
water. Peering out through the opening between the 
curtains, she saw two Korean women moving away from 
the sampan. Thus she knew her midnight fright had 
been caused not through any evil intention but from 
the exercise of pure curiosity. They had but carried 
into effect the desire for a closer inspection of her hair. 
So soundly did the other occupants of the sampan 
sleep that none of them were aroused by this incident, 

61 




62 THE BED MIRIOK 

not even Dorothy. Thus it was an astonishing piece 
of news to them when Helen told it on the following 
morning. 

Dorothy was overcome by admiration for Helen's 
coolness. " Helen, are you sure you didn't scream, 
not the least little bit ? Oh, I never could have taken 
it as you did," and she drew her breath quickly. 

Others besides Dorothy had words of praise for Helen's 
fortitude. ' ' Nine girls out of ten would have gone 
into hysterics," declared Clarence. 

"Put the percentage lower," warned Dorothy, 
shaking her fist at him in well-feigned indignation. 

" Well, seven out often then." 

" Oh, that is much better." 

It was long after breakfast when the magistrate con- 
descended to appear. Then he kept them waiting an 
hour or more through his insatiable curiosity, for he 
must needs inspect everything in the boat, even to the 
faggots and the chicken coop. But at last they were 
off. They had been afraid that the man might attach 
himself to them again ere they left the village. How- 
ever, up to the time of pushing off, they had seen 
nothing of him. He had been dropped on the way 
from the magistrate's the evening before, and evidently 
that was the last of him. 

As they went along now, Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn 
were discussing the event, as well as the man's proba- 
ble meaning when he had muttered the words ' ' Marble 
Pagoda." Both missionaries knew of the old Marble 
Pagoda in Seoul, one of the curiosities of the place, 



A FRIENDLY HAIL 63 

though, strange to say, not many seemed to care to go 
about it. The natives especially shunned it, that is, a 
large percentage of them did. They declared that it 
was filled with demons and haunted by all kinds of evil 
spirits. It stood in one of the foulest parts of the city, 
just back of a narrow alley, and all around it were 
clustered wretched-looking hovels. It was said to be 
more than seven centuries old. It had been originally 
thirteen stories, but during the Japanese invasion of 
three centuries before, three stories had been taken off. 
Many of the chambers contained the richest carvings, 
especially that known as the room of the Five Hundred 
Disciples. That had the images of many of the Hindu 
divinities. 

. "I understand," said Mr. Wilburn, "that several 
bits of detached carving, some of them representing 
deities, and others the various stages of the progress of 
Buddha toward Nirvana, or the Buddhist heaven, have 
been found in the old pagoda up to a time within re- 
cent years. There is the story, not very old, of the 
young assistant of one of the Buddhist priests at a 
monastery in the mountains, who nearly forfeited his 
life by stealing one of the images that had been brought 
from the pagoda, a very rare and valuable one, by the 
way. But he escaped by the narrowest chance, though 
the priest hunted and hunted him for a long time, and 
may be doing it yet, for all I know." 

" What a fortunate thing for our missionary labors," 
remarked Mr. Eeid, "that Buddhism was long ago 
abolished throughout the kingdom, and only a little 



64 THE EED MIRIOK 

colony of the priests allowed here and there in remote 
places." 

"Ah, my brother, but there are the horrors of 
demon worship with which to contend, and the stonelike 
barriers of ancestral worship to break away. The for- 
mer is as bad as Buddhism, where it has taken deep 
hold." 

" As it has in our sampan man here," observed Mr. 
Keid with a sigh. " Oh, if I could only see some im- 
pression made on him by our teachings, some little in- 
clination toward the truth as it is alone found in the 
pure gospel of Jesus." 

" Do not despair. He may turn to the better way 
in time. It seemed to me during the services last even- 
ing that he listened more intently than I had ever seen 
him. He seemed to be impressed too, by the questions 
that were asked, especially by the earnest ones of the 
old man." 

' ' Oh, but he is so persistent in his devotions to that 
wretched little image he has. Only this morning I saw 
him fondling it. Sometimes I feel like taking it from 
him and pitching it far out into the stream. ' ' 

"Oh but, father," said Helen earnestly, now join- 
ing the conversation because she felt that she must, 
" that would not be best, believe me." 

"But how are we to teach them a better worship 
until we take their miserable idols from them? " 

" Oh, father, we mustn't tear down to build up. If 
a man were living in an old and insecure house, we 
wouldn't pull it down over him, for fear of the damage 



A FKIENDLY HAIL 65 

it would do. If we were his true benefactors, we would 
simply invite him away from the old and into a better 



one." 



' ' Well said ! ' ' declared Mr. Wilburn, his eyes 
shining. " You are a true reasoner, Miss Helen." 

"But so long as they have these horrid images that 
they believe can counteract the evil effect of the demons, 
they will go on worshiping them. We must get them 
away." 

" But not by compulsion, father." 

"How then, Helen?" 

" By love." She reached out and took his hand as 
she said the words, and began to pat it softly. Her 
lips trembled but her eyes met his bravely. 

"Yes, my dear, yes, I know. When the heart is 
touched, love is the thing then with which to win them. 
But you can't pelt a stone wall with cotton, Helen, and 
hope to make any impression." 

' ' But, my father, if cannon were used, what would 
be the result? Only devastation. We can't drive 
these poor things away from their idols. We must 
coax them." 

"A woman's way, Helen. But, my daughter, you 
are doubtless right," he said a moment later. " I get 
so provoked at their persistency, their blind infatuation, 
I feel that I must use force, or at least warn them of 
God's wrath if they persist in their idolatry." 

"Tell them of God's love ever waiting to receive 
them, you mean, father ? ' ' 

"Yes, of God's love," repeated Mr. Wilburn, his 

E 



66 THE RED MIRIOK 

eyes moistening as he looked at Helen, " the warm sun- 
light, gentle yet powerful, the one agent that, using no 
force, yet accomplishes what force cannot." 

They made pleasant progress all that day and the 
next. The views of the river and from the river grew 
more and more picturesque. They had now passed 
beyond the range of hills on the highest point of which 
stood the fortress of Nam Han, with its garrison of 
Korean soldiers. The river had grown broader and its 
banks lower. They passed many beautiful islands and 
had more than one experience with rapids. While 
navigating these, Mr. Keid had insisted on the girls' 
going ashore attended by Mallard and Mr. Wilburn. 
This they did, joining the sampan a mile or so above 
after some rather exciting adventures with the natives. 
However, as there was no worse spirit displayed than 
that of curiosity, they suffered more annoyance than 
alarm. 

Through a considerable part of that third afternoon 
they moved along in sight of several small villages in- 
habited by woodcutters and charcoal burners. At one 
of these Mr. Eeid said he must stop, not only for the 
night but for much of the next day, for it was one 
that had been brought to the attention of his mission 
Board as an inviting field for the establishment of a 
station. 

At first the people were alarmed when they caught 
sight of the strangers. But on the assurance of Mr. 
Che-foo and Mr. Kit-ze that all were friends, they re- 
leased their chickens and their queer -looking little pigs, 



A FRIENDLY HAIL 67 

not much bigger than rabbits, which they had begun 
to put in pens at the approach of the sampan. They 
listened eagerly to what the missionaries had to say, 
pressed closely to them during the services, and had 
many questions to ask, all of an earnest character. 

The magistrate too, at this place, to whom Mr. Reid 
had brought letters, treated them cordially and offered 
to assist him in any way he could. The chief men 
were also friendly and assured the missionaries that if 
they wanted to come and teach the new doctrine, they 
should have respectful attention. 

One thing in connection with their stay at the village 
caused special happiness to Mr. Reid. Mr. Kit-ze had 
not only paid deep attention during the services, but he 
had remained thoughtful for some time thereafter. He 
had also come to both Mr. Reid and Mr. Wilburn with 
questions. 

They remained all the next day, which was Friday, 
and that night at the village. Early the next morn- 
ing the sampan was heading again up the river. 

" Where shall we spend the Sabbath? " asked Mr. 
Reid. 

"At Yo-Ju, I think, exalted teacher," replied Mr. 
Kit-ze. ' ( If we pass the rapids without ill-luck, and 
push on steadily, we can reach there by the fall of the 
night." 

But they had trying times at the rapids, the longest 
and the most dangerous yet encountered, so that the 
late afternoon found them a good half-day's journey 
from Yo-Ju. They had now come to the mountains in 



68 THE RED MIRIOK 

all their wildness and ruggedness. Silence fell upon 
the little party. No word could be spoken amid all 
that awe-inspiring beauty. Then Mr. Eeid's voice 
broke the stillness as he repeated the ninety-seventh 
Psalm, ' ' The Lord reigneth. ' ' 

Though the way was so wildly picturesque on either 
side, yet the river at this place flowed peacefully along, 
washing about the shore of green islets or lapping the 
steep banks with a gentle murmur. 

Suddenly, from the midst of some overhanging vines 
near which they were passing, there came a loud hail. 
Then a voice added in very good English : "Pause, 
friends ! exalted teacher, do I see you once more ? ' ' 

' ' Why, that voice sounds familiar, ' ' said Mr. 
Keid. " Head the sampan toward the cliff, Mr. 
Kit-ze, and let us see what it means. ' ' 

Mr. Kit-ze had no more than started to obey when a 
small flat boat came out from the overhanging bank 
and made toward them. It had three occupants, an 
elderly man who was sitting midway of it, and two 
younger ones who were propelling it. The old man 
was bolt upright despite his years, and made an inter- 
esting and picturesque figure with his snow-white hair, 
which, as is altogether unusual in Koreans, was falling 
about his shoulders, and with his partly civilized dress. 

"Why, it is Mr. Ko ! " cried Joyce. 

'' ' Yes, ' ' said Helen, a smile breaking over her face, 
" it is he, sure enough. Oh, how glad I am ! " 

" Old friend," cried Mr. Reid delighted, " can it be 
that I greet you again ? ' ' 



A FRIENDLY HAIL 



69 



"Yes, exalted master. Your old servant heard you 
were coming up the river. So, lo, since the evening 




THE OLD MAN WAS BOLT UPRIGHT, DESPITE HIS YEAKS. 

of yesterday he has been watching for you." 

Mr. Keid now introduced Mr. Ko to Mr. Wilburn 



70 THE BED MIKIOK 

and the others. The old Korean had lived for years at 
the capital. There he had known the missionary and 
his family through three or four years. During two of 
these he had lived at the mission as gate-keeper and 
errand man. Mr. Reid had heard that he had inher- 
ited some property and had gone away from Seoul. 

The old man was quite a character. He had shown 
considerable devotion to the missionary and his family, 
but Mr. Reid, with all his efforts in Mr. Ko's behalf, 
had never been able to get the old man further than 
the admission that the Jesus doctrine was a very fair 
sort of doctrine and, if he only had the time, he would 
give himself over to the practice of it. 

Now the old man was delighted at seeing the mis- 
sionary and his children again. They must spend 
some time with him, he declared. Everything had 
been prepared for them. He had even secured a cook 
who could give them the food as they liked it. Oh, 
this was a wonderful man, indeed. Only yesterday he 
had come. " The good spirits sent him,," asserted Mr. 
Ko, " I am certain they did." 

Nothing would do the old man but that Helen, at 
least, must have a glimpse of this Avonderful cook the 
moment she reached the dwelling. 

" There he is," said Mr. Ko, with the delight of a 
child, pointing through an opening into the kitchen. 

A tall figure was bending over the ang-palc, or great 
rice jar. At sound of Mr. Ko's voice he raised his 
head and glanced around. It was the stowaway of the 
sampan. 




CHAPTER VII 

AN ENTREATY 

"ELEN uttered an excla- 
mation, then moved 
toward Mr. Ko. He 
read the expression 
of her face quickly. 

"You know 
him? " he asked. 

"I do not know 
him, but I have seen 
him. He was on the 
sampan with us after 
we left Han-Kang." 

' ' Why, he did not tell me that ! He only said that 
he had seen the honorable teacher and that he was com- 
ing. But no matter," continued Mr. Ko, and looking 
encouragingly toward the man. ' ' He did not tell me 
because he had some reason not to. It is all right," 
he added cheerfully. c ' You may go on with the 
cooking. ' ' 

"I know him," he said, turning again to Helen. 
' ' He was my neighbor in Seoul two years ago. He is 
a good sort of fellow, only there seems to be something 
on his mind. I don't understand that. Never did." 

71 



72 THE BED MIRIOK 

A deep perplexity now came to Helen. She could 
not decide whether or not to let the others know of the 
presence of the man at Mr. Ko's. She finally reached 
the decision to tell her father and Clarence and maybe 
Dorothy. There was, perhaps, after all, nothing wrong 
about the man. He had really done nothing to arouse 
their suspicions, only remained silent and sullen when 
he was questioned. She knew that her father believed 
that he had merely been stealing a ride. The only 
mysterious thing about him at present was his having 
so swiftly preceded them to Mr. Ko's. She after- 
ward learned that he had fallen in with another sam- 
pan almost as soon as he had left them, and had worked 
his way up the river. While they lingered at the vil- 
lages he had traveled. 

Though Mr. Ko had adopted some of the ways of 
civilization, he still ate very much after the Korean 
fashion. Thus when they sat down to supper it was at 
little round tables not more than a foot or a foot and a 
half high. Instead of cloths, they were covered with 
sheets of glazed paper. Kice was the principal diet. 
It was set in an earthenware bowl near the center of 
each table. In addition there was a soup of beef and 
onions thickened with barley, a batter bread made of 
flour and oil and a slight sprinkling of sugar, chicken 
curry, eggs, and rice fritters. Mr. Ko also had tea, a 
rarity for the rural districts of Korea. 

As Mr. Ko, Mr. Kit-ze, and Mr. Chefoo ate, they 
made a great noise with their mouths. This was done 
to show their appreciation of the viands, for in Korea, 



AN ENTREATY 73 

the greater the noise made while eating, the more force- 
fully denned is the compliment to the food. 

Mr. Ko's house was much better than that of the 
average farmer. It was built of poles, mud-daubed, 
but the walls of the principal rooms were covered with 
paper. There were little windows of thick glazed 
paper while the doors were set in frames, of light bam- 
boo. The sleeping arrangements cousisted principally 
of mats with blocks of wood for pillows. In the winter 
the beds were made over the brick flues that ran 
through the rooms connected with the great oven 
where the baking was done. Thus, in winter, to sleep 
in a Korean house means to roast and freeze by turns, 
for while the fire is kept up it is hot indeed, and when 
it is allowed to go out then " cold as a stone" gives 
the literal condition of a brick bed. 

The house stood in a grove of mulberries, for to his 
other pursuits Mr. Ko added that of silkworm raising. 
There were clumps too, of the walnut and persimmon, 
with vines of the white and yellow clematis tangled 
amid their branches. Here the birds built, and here 
they poured forth their morning songs or chattered to 
their mates as they were going to bed at night. In 
front were the fields of wheat and barley, and farther 
down, in the very heart of the valley, the crops of rice. 
As it was near the end of April, the barley was already 
in ear and beginning to take on its russet coloring. 

Mr. Ko, being an old bachelor, there were only men 
about the house. He had a saying with reference to 
which Clarence teased Helen and Dorothy rather un- 



74 THE RED MIRIOK 

mercifully. It was to the effect that where there were 
women there was sure to be trouble. 

"Oh, but Mr. Ko likes girls!" asserted Helen. 
"You can't make me believe otherwise, Master Clar- 
ence. He and I have been too long good friends." 

' ' What was that I heard him say last night ? ' ' asked 
Dorothy, a mischievous light in her eyes, ' ' about sons 
and how they were like dragon's teeth in the sides of 
their parents ? ' ' 

Clarence looked rather sheepish at this quick turning 
of the tables on himself, and in a moment or so dexter- 
ously changed the conversation. 

On the following day, which was the Sabbath, two 
services were held in Mr. Ko's mulberry grove. At 
the first not many were present, but by afternoon scores 
had flocked to the place from the neighboring farms 
and from the village. Curiosity Avas plainly depicted 
on all the faces, but as Mr. Keid proceeded, it changed 
to eager attention on the part of several. Mr. Chefoo 
made a good interpreter. He was both careful and 
earnest. Already the sweet, simple truths the mission- 
ary taught were beginning to make their appeal to his 
own heart. It was the old story of Jesus and his sweet 
ministrations to men, his sympathy for them, his under- 
standing of their needs, the great, warm, deep love 
that took in all, even the poorest and humblest. 

" And this Jesus is the same now as then," continued 
the missionary. ' ' He is waiting to enter each heart 
and to possess it, to have our lives drawn nearer to his 
own, to bestow upon us the sweet knowledge of that 



AN ENTREATY 75 

companionship with him that may be ours through all 
the way." 

The services were barely concluded when Mr. Kit-ze 
came to ask questions. Gladness was in Mr. Reid's 
heart as he saw the moved, wondering look upon the 
boatman's face. He wanted to know if this Jesus, who 
could do so much for men, who wanted to be their 
friend, was very rich and powerful ? Could he bestow 
honor and wealth as well as friendship ? 

Mr. Kit-ze was told that the provisions of honor and 
wealth did not enter into Jesus' plans for the happiness 
of his people. He himself had shown his condemnation 
of the grasping hand, the covetous heart, by declaring 
that he who desired to be the greatest should be the 
least of all and servant to all. 

' ' But he gives that to us which is better than all 
the honor and riches of earth, ' ' continued Mr. Reid ; 
" he gives us contentment of life and peace of heart. 
Would not you think these far better than money or 
laud, my friend? " 

Mr. Kit-ze did not know. He had thought that it 
would indeed be a very fine thing to possess land and 
cattle and so comfortable a home as that of Mr. Ko. 

This, then, had been the thought uppermost with 
Mr. Kit-ze when contemplating the character of Jesus, 
the Divine Friend, and the thought of the possible 
worldly elevation the friendship might bring him. The 
missionary felt a deep pain at his heart as he realized 
whither Mr. Kit-ze' s thoughts had led him. But at 
the same time there was something in his attitude to 



76 THE RED MIRIOK 

inspire hope. Mr. Kit-ze had been impressed. That 
was plainly evident. His mind was in a deep whirl of 
thought. Other and better things would surely be 
evolved from it in the end. Many times during that 
day he made fervent petition for Mr. Kit-ze. 

Mr. Kit-ze's perplexity increased as one thought 
after another came to him. The exalted teacher had 
not answered as he had hoped. All was still so uncer- 
tain, so unsatisfactory. Ah, now he knew what he 
would do ! He would go to the daughter of the hon- 
orable teacher, to her who had the soft voice, the gentle 
Avays, the kind heart. She could make it plain, 
she would tell it so that it would reach his understand- 
ing- 
Helen's heart leaped as Mr. Kit-ze asked her the 

questions. She could see how deeply in earnest he 
Avas. Oh, could it be that he was at last awakened, 
that he would search until he had found the truth, 
would accept Jesus as the one faithful Friend ? His 
first and second questions aroused these thoughts ; but 
the third, how it disturbed her, as it had also dis- 
turbed her father. It was the same question about 
earthly honor and wealth. 

"Dear Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, taking his hand, 
and at that moment he felt that he would have done 
anything for her, "those who truly love Jesus, who 
have taken him as their Friend, do not think of such 
things in connection with what Jesus does for them. 
They know that whatever is best for them he will send, 
that whatever of good gifts they will use happily, he 



AN ENTKEATY 77 

will bestow. But further than this they do not go, 
for, Mr. Kit-ze, when once we have taken Jesus, we 
must trust him for everything. We must not question 
or ask him for this thing or the other. Thus, Mr. 
Kit-ze, if you had a worldly friend, one in whom you 
believed with all the mind, in whom you trusted with all 
the heart, would you not willingly follow that friend 
wherever he bade you go and take everything from 
him as meant for your good ? " 

" Oh, yes," said Mr. Kit-ze, " oh, yes." 

' ' Well, thus it is with Jesus. When we take him 
for our Friend, truly take him, we do not require any- 
thing of him. We leave all that to him and only 
trust him. He loves us. Oh, how he loves, Mr. 
Kit-ze ! He is the truest lover in all the world. Could 
he, or would he, then, do aught else but what is best 
for the one beloved ? " 

"Oh, daughter of the exalted teacher," said the 
boatman, his voice tremulous with some new-found 
emotion, ' ' you have put that into Mr. Kit-ze's heart 
which will make him think, think ! " He went away 
with his hand still pressed upon his heart and murmur- 
ing to himself. 

Helen had told her father of the presence of the 
stowaway in Mr. Ko's kitchen, and of her great sur- 
prise at finding him there. 

' ' Oh, I suppose there isn't anything mysterious about 
it, Helen," her father made answer; "nothing to be 
dreaded from him, I know. He looked inoffensive 
enough, though sullen, and you remember we didn't 



78 THE RED MIRIOK 

find anything on his person. I am only astonished at 
the rapidity with which he has made his way up the 
river ; but from what you have since learned and have 
told me, that too is clear." 

Helen was glad her father took the man's presence 
in this way. She really felt sorry for the poor fellow. 
He had looked at her so pathetically the evening be- 
fore ere she left the kitchen with Mr. Ko, and had 
murmured something in which she caught the words, 
"No harm, no harm." His eyes had not then the 
burning look she had noticed when they were fixed 
upon Mr. Kit-ze. Instead, they were soft and plead- 
ing. 

She was ready now to tell Clarence and Dorothy. 
They had walked down to the bluff for a view of the 
river and of the track of the setting sun as it moved 
across the water like some golden -freighted craft. 

Clarence, boylike, whistled his astonishment at the 
communication. "Why, Helen, how did he ever 
manage to get here so far ahead of us ? " he asked at 
length. "It seems almost incredible." 

"On a sampan, as I have told you Mr. Ko in- 
formed me. There isn't anything so strange about 
that. What troubles me is the feeling that he is fol- 
lowing us." 

"I think this time we followed him," observed 
Clarence trying to be a little witty. 

' ' But he was evidently awaiting us here. ' ' 

' ' Then we'll ask him his business, ' ' declared Clar- 
ence. 



AN ENTREATY 79 

No, Clarence, no," entreated Helen. "That 



THEN, EXTENDING HIS HANDS. 




ENTREATED. 



might be the worst thing. I am sure he means no 
harm. Let us wait and see if he attempts to follow us 



80 THE BED MIRIOK 

away from here. Then we might inquire into his con- 
duct." 

"I feel sorry for him," said Dorothy. "I can't 
help it, though he" may mean no good. He looked so 
pitiful when he was being dragged away to the magis- 
trate. He was frightened too, but he didn't have the 
appearance of one who contemplated wrong-doing. ' ' 

' ' I feel in that way myself, ' ' said Helen. ' ' I " 

But ere she finished the sentence, they were attracted 
by the noise of a step behind them. Turning, they 
saw the one whom they were discussing. With a 
hasty movement he prostrated himself before them ; 
then extending his hands, entreated : " friends, hear 
the story of poor Choi -So ! " 




CHAPTER VIII 

THE STORY OF CHOI -SO 

UCH a pathetic 
story as it was 
for the most 
part ! One that 
caused the young 
people to listen 
to it with the 
deepest interest. 
Choi-So's 
mother had died 
when he was very 

young, too young to remember her. The woman who 
raised him had cruelly treated him. She had not only 
half-starved him, but she had often severely beaten 
him. Choi-So had not said it in so many words, but 
he gave his young hearers the impression that this 
treatment had so dazed him that his head was not alto- 
gether right. Sometimes he was like one in a mist, as 
he expressed it. 

His father was a very religious man. He was a 
dreamer too, a bad combination, since when one is con- 
stantly wandering away in thought, many of the plain- 
est duties that are allied to a religious profession are apt 

F 81 



82 THE EED MIEIOK 

to be neglected. He was a worker in straw. He made 
shoes and ropes and mats, the latter beautifully woven. 
He received a fair price for his work, and there was no 
reason why his child should have been starved except 
that the money that ought to have gone to his nourish- 
ment was appropriated to her own use by an unscru- 
pulous woman while the father wove his mats and 
dreamed. 

Mr. Ang-su, Choi-So's father, had spent many years 
of his life in Japan. There he had married Choi-So's 
mother. There too, he had acquired his deep religious 
convictions. He was a devout Buddhist. As he sat 
and dreamed his young son entered into many of these 
dreams, was, in truth, the chief figure therein. Far 
better would it have been could he have occupied even 
for half the length of time his father's practical thought. 
Thus it came about that at eighteen Choi -So was sent to 
one of the Buddhist monasteries in the mountains, there 
to be prepared for the priesthood. Five years were 
spent in the dreary, monotonous routine that made up 
his life there. So many times during each period of 
twenty-four hours, from midnight till midnight again, 
he must hasten to the temple at sound of drum or bell, 
there to prostrate himself on the stone floor before the 
bow-kneed, brass-faced god, repeating, u Namu Amit 
abul! Namu Amit abul!" (I put my trust in Bud- 
dha ! I put my trust in Buddha !) One hundred and 
eight times he did this without stopping, to an accom- 
paniment of bells, sometimes sounding soft and silvery, 
or again ringing out with harsh, loud clangor. 



THE STOKY OF CHOI-SO 83 

He was also taught to take no life, not even that of a 
mosquito. If one troubled him more than he could en- 
dure, the venerable abbot instructed him that he was 
simply to get. up and ' ' shoo ' ' it gently out of the room. 
His fare was hard and unsatisfying, consisting all the 
year round of rice and pressed seaweed, for no one who 
lived to the glory of Buddha must touch meat. Sad to 
say, this life was just the one that appealed to the mel- 
ancholy boy. He had inherited much of his father's 
religious concentration and dreaminess of manner. In- 
stead of having the desire to run away from this hard 
life, he daily applied himself the more earnestly to the 
task of learning to please Buddha, of so living that he 
might attain Nirvana ! That was his highest desire. 

One day, just at the close of his five years, he came 
upon Mr. Kit-ze stranded upon the river bank, bruised 
and broken. He had had a desperate struggle for life 
in the rapids. Three ribs were broken and an arm 
badly injured. He had lost his cargo, and had very 
nearly lost his sampan ; but, injured though he was, he 
had managed to cling to the latter and to get it safely 
to shore. However, it would need much in the way of 
repairs ere it could be used again. Choi-So, in deep 
pity for the' wounded boatman, went for help, and had 
him assisted to the monastery. Mr. Kit-ze was con- 
ducted through the great arched gateway and into the 
reception hall. There the venerable abbot had come to 
him, and uttered the words of welcome, "Peace be 
unto you," and had then bidden that he be led away 
and his wounds treated. 



84 THE BED MIRIOK 

For two weeks Mr. Kit-ze had remained at the mon- 
astery. He had ingratiated himself into the favor of 
the priests. Especially had he won the trust and good- 
will of Choi-So. The young man was his devoted at- 
tendant. The boatman was given many privileges. He 
was even permitted to look through a small sliding panel 
upon the priests at their devotions. This room, to which 
the monks were called so many times each day to their 
prayers, began to hold a deep fascination for Mr. Kit-ze. 
Its rich carvings, its many images, above all, the great 
bronze statue of the Buddha with the various smaller 
ones grouped about it, so chained his attention that for 
moments at a time he would continue to gaze as though 
spellbound. 

Choi-So had explained to him the mission of these 
smaller images. They were to teach man the various 
stages through which he was to pass ere -Nirvana could 
be attained. Thus they were helps in the progress of 
life. Any one of them could bring to mind what man 
hoped, what he inherited through the strength and the 
faithfulness of Buddha. Much of this was unintelligible 
to Mr. Kit-ze. He knew nothing of Buddha, nor 
cared to know. But the images represented something 
that did appeal to him. This much he understood, or 
at least thought he understood. Any one of them 
brought good fortune to its possessor. That is the way 
he had read Choi -So' s explanation. 

Mr. Kit-ze' s mind was ripe for a suggestion of this 
kind. Among the losses he had sustained through the 
catastrophe in the rapids was one he felt more keenly 



THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 85 

than the others. Deeply superstitious, as is the greater 




HE WAS PERMITTED TO LOOK . . . UPON THE PRIESTS AT THEIR 

DEVOTIONS." 

part of his race, Mr. Kit-ze believed devoutly in the 
efficacy of certain charms. A grotesque figure he had 



86 THE RED MIRIOK 

carried on his person for years had again and again 
helped him to elude the demons that waited for him in 
the rapids. But for this his sampan would never have 
had the many safe journeys through the dangerous parts 
of the river, and but for the loss of this image during 
the earlier part of his late struggle in the rapids, 
calamity would never have befallen. He must replace 
this charm, this wonderful image of protection and 
helpfulness. What better could be found than what 
was here represented in this chamber, sacred to the 
great god before whom the priests prostrated themselves, 
and of whose power they made such astonishing recitals? 
Had he not been informed of the marvelous things that 
could be accomplished through the possession of even 
one of the images, of the part each bore in the fortune 
of man? He could not enter the chamber himself. 
He must work through Choi-So. 

Poor Choi-So was in a sore state of mind at that 
time. Again and again he had felt, as he had described 
himself, like one walking in a mist. His father had 
recently died. For weeks now he had remained uu- 
buried, a custom very prevalent in Korea until such a 
funeral as the mourners desire can be given. His sav- 
ings had been squandered by the wife who had so ill- 
treated Choi-So. There Avas nothing with which to lay 
the corpse away as the dutiful son felt would be fitting. 
So he waited and waited, praying and hoping and long- 
ing for the means to do honor to his father, or else be- 
come a wretched, miserable son, despised of all who 
knew him. It was then that Mr. Kit-ze tempted him, 



THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 87 

repeating the temptation until poor Choi -So had finally 
yielded. The image was stolen, but, to Mr. Kit-ze's 
shame, only a part of the price agreed upon had been 
paid. When Choi-So had followed him, beseeching 
the remainder, it was but to be cast off roughly. An- 
other time he was threatened with the magistrate, and 
with exposure. This last threat drove Choi-So back 
to the monastery. But the theft had been discovered 
and traced to him. A companion priest informed him 
in time for Choi-So to make his escape ere the terrible 
punishment in store overtook him. 

Since then he had been a wanderer. He knew that 
his brother priests had sent one of their number in pur- 
suit of him. His one object now was to recover the 
image, return it, and suffer the consequences. He could 
never be happy again until he had done it. He could 
never attain Nirvana until reparation had been made 
and the image placed once more in the mystic circle 
about the Buddha. For three years now he had wan- 
dered in search of Mr. Kit-ze, but as the boatman had 
moved away from his old quarters at Seoul, poor Choi- 
So, for all his search, had never laid eyes upon him 
until that day on the river bank at Han-Kang. 

This story had been told in a broken way, and as 
Choi-So had but a small knowledge of English and his 
youthful listeners far from a full one of Korean, it was 
only by putting it together piece by piece, one supply- 
ing a link here and another one there, that they finally 
understood him. 

"Oh, friends," he entreated, holding out his hands 



88 THE EED MIRIOK 

pathetically to his hearers, at the conclusion of his 
story, ' ' pity the sorrows of poor Choi -So. Help him 
to recover that which is the only thing that can bring 
peace to him again ! " 

" The red miriok ! " exclaimed Clarence, and looked 
at Helen significantly. 

"Yes," said Helen, "the red miriok. I had al- 
ready felt that it had something to do with this poor 
man's following us." 

Then she told them of her impressions on the river 
bank as she had first noted Choi -So and the manner in 
which his gaze had been riveted upon Mr. Kit-ze and 
the red miriok. "Poor thing," she continued, her 
eyes fixed pityingly upon Choi-So, "it is all very se- 
rious to him, and we can see how he has suffered through 
it." 

" But how can we help him ? " asked Dorothy. Her 
sympathies too were deeply aroused. "Mr. Kit-ze 
will never give up the image, I fear," she continued. 

" We might make him do it," said Clarence quickly, 
" or pay him to do it." 

"No," said Helen emphatically; "we cannot. 
Neither will do." 

" What then? " asked Clarence. 

" We might win him to the better way," said Helen 
softly. " We might coax him to give up this wretched 
little image for the sweeter things we could help him to 
attain." 

" What ! Mr. Kit-ze? " cried Clarence incredulously. 
' ' Never ! He is too hardened. ' ' 



THE STORY OF CHOI-SO 89 

" Clarence, how wrong to say that ! Has not God's 
love shown its power to reach even those more hardened 
than Mr. Kit-ze?" 

' ' But what can we do for this poor fellow here ? ' ' 
repeated Dorothy. 

Helen turned her eyes upon Choi-So. As she noted 
the lean and pallid face, the deep-set eyes in which the 
light of fanaticism burned steadily, courage, hope, both 
left her. " Oh, I am sure I don't know ! ' ' she cried in 
despair. 

Just at that moment Mallard was seen hastening 
down the path toward them. From the manner in 
which he came they felt sure he was the bearer of a 
message of some kind. "I have bad news," he said as 
he approached. 

"Oh, what is it?" cried Helen, thinking instantly 
of her father. 

' ' Do not be alarmed, cousin, ' ' he hastened to assure 
her. " It is nothing so dreadful. There has been an 
accident. Mr. Chefoo slipped at a steep place on the 
river bank, fell, and has broken his arm." 



CHAPTER IX 



A THEFT 

ES, Mr. Chefoo had 
broken his arm. It 
was too bad ! for 
aside from the pain 
and discomfort that 
it gave him, how 
were they to get on 
with the sampan 
without him ? It is 
true, it was not a 
very severe frac- 
ture, only one of the 
smaller bones hav- 
ing been broken ; but it would be at least two weeks 
ere he could use it again. In the meantime, what was 
to be done ? Mr. Kit-ze could not manage the sam- 
pan alone. Some one must help him pole as well as 
keep the boat within the proper channel. It would be 
a very one-sided and unsatisfactory progress if the sam- 
pan were propelled from only one end. 

Mr. Ko thought of a half-dozen men who were at 
hand, but none were reliable. It would be better with- 
out them than with them, especially as there were rapids 

90 




A THEFT 91 

to be passed. Mr. Ko was very much disturbed over 
the accident to Mr. Chefoo, because of its having oc- 
curred at his' place. He was sure a demon had caused 
it. It was the demon in the well, he finally decided, 
since Mr. Chefoo had been at the well ere proceeding 
down the path where the accident occurred. The demon 
must be appeased, he declared, and forthwith proceeded 
to throw rice into the well. Now Mr. Chefoo's arm 
would rapidly mend, he asserted. 

Monday morning had come, and still there seemed no 
prospect of resuming the journey to Yo Ju. 

"We must get on," said Mr. Reid, "our time is 
limited. We must make some arrangement for an as- 
sistant for Mr. Kit-ze." 

Mr. Chefoo had now a high fever and was unable to 
sit up. It had been decided to leave him with Mr. 
Ko until their return, which would be in about three 
days, as they were not going much beyond Yo Ju. 

In the midst of their perplexity Mr. Ko came to 
them with a beaming face. He knew the very thing ! 
Why had he not thought of it before? They could 
take Mr. Choi -So. Now that his honorable guests were 
about to depart, he, Mr. Ko, would not need his cook. 
Mr. Choi-So himself was anxious to go along with them. 
He had approached Mr. Ko on the subject. He was 
an excellent poleman, quick and careful. He had sev- 
eral times assisted in carrying sampans up and down 
the river, twice for Mr. Ko himself. Besides, he bore 
an excellent character. Mr. Ko knew him. He had 
known his father too. 



92 



THE BED MIEIOK 



" I see no reason why Ave shouldn't take him," said 
Mr. Keid. 




HE FORTHWITH . . . PROCEEDED TO THROW RICE INTO THE WELL. 



But Mr. Wilburn opposed this. He had not liked 
the man's concealment of himself in the sampan, neither 
had he been favorably impressed by his appearance 



A THEFT 93 

on that occasion. His sullen, hang-dog look had be- 
tokened anything but innocence. He could have been 
after no good. Mr. Wilburn's suspicions had been 
strengthened by the presence of Choi-So at Mr. Ko's. 

Neither Mr. Reid nor Mr. Wilburn had learned the 
story of the red miriok, or image of Buddha, as it 
ought more properly to be designated. The young peo- 
ple, after consulting among themselves, had decided to 
tell no one, at least not until they could agree on 
some plan. Mr. Choi -So had given them his confidence. 
He evidently trusted them and believed that they could 
help him. If he wanted the others to know too, then 
he would tell them. He showed plainly that he feared 
Mr. Wilburn and was not at ease with Mr. Eeid. 
Helen and Clarence both felt that they wanted their 
father to know, but they respected Mr. Choi-So's feel- 
ings. Perhaps he would himself tell the missionary. 

Things were in this unsatisfactory state when Mr. 
Choi-So's oifer to attend them as poleman was made 
known. The young people were pleased. It was the 
very thing, they thought. It would give them more 
time to decide upon some action, for the desire was now 
keen with each one to secure the miriok from Mr. 
Kit-ze and return it to Mr. Choi-So. 

' ' The poor fellow will go demented if we do not, ' ' 
declared Clarence. " He is half crazy on the subject, 
anyhow. We can at least try to give him peace of 
mind." 

"I wish we could give him something else," added 
Helen wistfully. 



94 THE EED MIRIOK 

"But we can't," asserted Clarence; "at least not 
now. His mind is too upset about the miriok. Be- 
sides, Mr. Kit-ze has really treated him dishonestly. 
He ought to be made to give the image back to him. 
The poor fellow has pinched and saved until he has the 
amount Mr. Kit-ze paid, so he told us." 

"Oh," said Helen, "if only I could talk to this 
poor Choi-So so that it would go to his mind and then 
to his heart, how happy I should be ! If only I could 
show him that this image for which he is willing to sac- 
rifice life itself is only a wretched little piece of metal ! ' ' 

" But he ought to carry it back," said Clarence. 

"And run the chance of being thrown into a dun- 
geon, fed on bread and water, and kept there perhaps 
for years without ever hearing of a single one of the 
sweet and precious things Jesus wants to do for him ? 
Oh, it is dreadful ! He had better lose the miriolc." 

" And lose his mind with it ? No, my sister, believe 
me that is not the right way for poor Choi-So. Let us 
get the miriok for him that is, if we can and perhaps 
afterward we may induce him to return it by messenger 
and listen to us. ' ' 

Mr. Wilburn was finally induced, through Mr. 
Reid's clear and forceful way of presenting the matter 
to htm, to withdraw his opposition to Choi -So' s accom- 
panying them as poleman ; but not so Mr. Kit-ze. He 
had been the last one to discover Choi-So's presence at 
Mr. Ko's, and this had been only a short time before 
the stowaway's offer to take Mr. Chefoo's place. The 
old boatman made quick and stormy objections. He 



A THEFT 95 

would not, he declared, permit such an idiot to handle 
a pole of his sampan, for he was one who had no sense 
for moving his hands two ways at once. If ever he had 
had any sense it was under his arm, for it certainly 
had never been put into his head for the lack of room 
there. 

But after a time Mr. Kit-ze grew cooler and seemed, 
to some extent, to be ashamed of his outburst, especially 
as Helen had now drawn near to him and taking his 
hand, was gazing at him reproachfully. 

"Don't say that, Mr. Kit-ze," she said. "You 
don't really know that he can't help you with the 
sampan, do you?" regarding him steadily. "Only 
try him, won't you ? Think what it means to us to be 
delayed here. Oh, we must go on, and you must help 
us, Mr. Kit-ze, by your consent. Perhaps it will only 
be to Yo Ju, as we may find another poleman there to 
suit us." 

Thus Helen pleaded, and little by little Mr. Kit-ze' s 
heart relented, his opposition relaxed, till he at length 
agreed to Choi -So' s accompanying them as far as Yo 
Ju. But the stipulations were that he was not to move 
from his end of the sampan, and at night he was to 
leave them. 

"Mr. Kit-ze is afraid of him," commented Mr. 
Wilburn. "He can read the rascal in him as plainly 
as I can." 

"I hope it will be proved ere we part from our pole- 
man, that both you and Mr. Kit-ze are mistaken," said 
Mr. Reid earnestly. "I can't believe that there is 



96 THE RED MIRIOK 

anything vicious in the man. He hasn't at all that 
appearance to me. To my eye it is more an anxiety to 
get up the river than anything else I can detect. ' ' 

Mr. Ko was pleased that they had finally decided to 
take Mr. Choi-So. "You won't regret it," he 
asserted. "He'll take you over the rapids better than 
any one I know ; and," he concluded, looking at Mr. 
Keid a little peculiarly, "it's my opinion you won't 
dismiss him at Yo Ju. At any rate, I'll have you a 
good poleman by the time you come back. ' ' 

By ten o'clock they were ready to be off, having 
bidden good-bye to poor Mr. Chefoo after having 
spoken all the consoling words to him they could. 

In honor of their departure, Mr. Ko had donned a 
spotless suit of white. He had also sought to enhance 
his appearance by adding an immense pair of spectacles, 
which he had purchased at considerable outlay, from 
an old scholar. It mattered not that one lens was en- 
tirely lacking and the other was so badly cracked that 
it was a question as to whether Mr. Ko could use the 
vision of that eye with any satisfactory effect. All the 
same, he stood upon the bank waving his fan majes- 
tically, his little black eye gleaming from out the great 
round space where the lens ought to have been, and 
all the time shouting out to them in Korean, "Come 
back again to-morrow!" That meant, "Keturn as 
soon as you can. ' ' 

Mr. Choi-So soon proved his right to all the good 
things Mr. Ko had spoken of him. He was an excel- 
lent poleman, both alert and careful. He helped en- 



A THEFT 97 

gineer the boat safely through the rapids in a manner 
that called forth grunts of approval from even Mr. 
Kit-ze. 

About four o'clock in the afternoon they came in 
sight of Yo Ju. Besides being a city of considerable 
size, it was noted as the birthplace of the queen, and 
the king had caused two or three public structures to 
be erected in her honor. 

There were many sampans, junks, and other rude 
craft at anchor in front of , the city, and they had much 
difficulty in making their way through them. But at 
length they reached the shore safely. They had not 
more than tied up when an immense crowd began to 
gather about the sampan, even wading out into the 
water. The crowd was not only curious, but annoying. 
They handled the clothes and hair of our friends, and 
even tried to run their hands over their faces. But to 
this not only protest but resistance was offered. 

Soon after reaching the bank, Mallard had climbed 
out on an end of the sampan and steadied his camera 
for a snap of the city. He thought it a splendid op- 
portunity, as the sun was falling full upon the great 
gateway and the queer looking buildings grouped near 
to it. He at once attracted the attention of the crowd. 
Great curiosity was aroused as to his intention, and 
soon men, women, and children were rushing toward 
him. They clambered up the side of the sampan. They 
pressed about him until there wasn't space to hold 
another foot. They poked fingers into eyes and ears 

and nose ; they shouted in glee as they caught the flash 

G 



98 THE RED MIEIOK 

of the lens in the instrument, and tried to pull it out. 
In consternation Mallard endeavored first to protect 
himself, then his camera, and was finally pushed into 
the water, saving the latter from both a smashing and 
a wetting by the narrowest margin. 

The same curiosity followed them as they went up 
into a gate tower for a view of the city. The crowd 
pressed about them so they could barely enter. Even 
after they began to ascend the stairs the curious throng 
crowded about them so that the entire space was filled. 
When they attempted to come down again, to their 
consternation they found they could not. They had 
finally to make their way back from the outside, a 
rough and somewhat dangerous undertaking. Fortu- 
nately neither was Joyce nor were the two girls with 
them. 

"This will never do," said Mr. Reid. " We must 
get away from this terribly curious crowd, for the an- 
noyance they give us will become more than a burden 
after a while. Mr. Kit-ze, is there no place, not so far 
.away, where we can tie up without the prospect of hav- 
ing such curiosity as this to endure ? " 

' ' Yes, honorable teacher, not so far away is the temple 
of the great Dragon. There are overhanging trees, a 
quiet river bed, and not many people who will come to 
gaze. ' ' 

"Then let us go there by all means. To-morrow 
morning we'll find our chance to enter the city." 

They made their way out through the forest of river 
craft and up the stream again. The great temple stood 



A THEFT 99 

directly on the banks of the Han, some little distance 
from the city. It was a beautiful spot, picturesquely 
so, for in addition to the brick and stone pagodas that 
gleamed through the trees, there was a number of 
small islands clustered about, covered with low-growing 
verdure and spangled with the blossoms of the pink and 
white azalea. 

The temple in itself had much with which they could 
occupy their time. Among other things was a quaint 
bell, in a perfect network of dragons, said to be more 
than five hundred years old. But as the sun was near 
to its setting as they came to anchor in a quiet spot 
along the banks, they decided to do no exploring for 
that afternoon. 

Mr. Kit-ze had spoken truly, ' ' there were not many 
Avho came to gaze. ' ' Though it was a kind of outlying 
village and had several hundred inhabitants, yet only a 
few of them appeared on the arrival of the sampan. Most 
seemed closely occupied with their pursuits. However, 
a little group of women and children pressed near to the 
sampan, but no one proved offensive except a mutang 
(sorceress), who, in the end, gave them considerable 
trouble. She contended that she must be given two 
yen so as to decide for them whether or not the Dragon 
would be pleased at their stay in the front of the temple. 
She finally fell to one yen, then to six hundred "cash," 
but still our travelers paid no attention to her. 

She had an evil eye, Dorothy asserted, and further 
declared that she knew she could not sleep that night 
for thinking of her. 



100 THE EED MIRIOK 

Mr. Kit-ze showed even more impatience with her 
than the others. They didn't need her divinations, he 
told her, for they had that with them that could over- 
come any evil from the dragon. Then he injudiciously 
gave her a view of the red miriok. How her keen 
little black eyes glowed as she caught sight of it ! and 
the sudden look she cast upon Mr. Kit-ze made Helen, 
who was closely watching the scene, feel uneasy despite 
herself. 

Helen had been earnestly regarding Mr. Kit-ze 
through a large part of that afternoon. There was 
that in his manner that at times disturbed her, but 
again it seemed as though hope were creeping into her 
heart. He had been absent-minded and dejected for 
much of the way, but now and then he had aroused 
himself. At such times he had turned with keen 
glances in the direction of Choi-So, studying every 
lineament of the young man's face, it seemed to Helen. 
Always these searching looks were bestowed upon Choi- 
So when he was not in turn regarding Mr. Kit-ze. 
Helen was sure that better feelings were stirring at the 
heart of Mr. Kit-ze on these occasions, for she could 
see how his eyes softened and his lips moved nervously 
as he continued to gaze. 

According to agreement Choi-So had been dismissed 
as night approached ; but Helen, who had been very 
observant, was sure he was not far away. Indeed, 
while walking on the bank for exercise, she had caught 
sight of his face from a small clump of bushes only a 
few steps from where she was. She decided at once 



A THEFT 101 

that she would not call attention to him. Her heart 
was tender for him. She did not believe that he would 
do harm. Soon silence settled down around the sam- 
pan, for its inmates had retired to rest. Several hours 
of the night passed away. All were supposed to be 
asleep except Mr. Kit-ze, whose watch it was. But, 
after a while, Mr. Kit-ze too yielded to slumber. 

Suddenly Helen awoke. It was with a strange, rest- 
less feeling. It seemed to her that there had been an 
uneasy consciousness even in the midst of her slumber. 
She tried to go sleep again, but could not. 

' ' I think the air in here must be a little too close, ' ' 
Helen thought after a few moments. She raised herself 
and leaned toward the heavy curtain of straw. Then 
she rolled it partly upward, secured it to the fastenings, 
and looked out. She was sleeping at the side of the 
sampan next to the shore. All was quiet. She could 
see no one. Then she let her eyes glance toward the 
bow of the boat. Mr. Kit-ze was huddled down in his 
little boxlike apartment sound asleep. 

"Oh," said Helen, "this will never do! I must 
call my father to awaken him. ' ' 

But even as she started to. move toward her father's 
apartment, she stopped again, almost transfixed. A 
hand had cautiously made its way up the side of the 
sampan, and was now directing itself toward Mr. 
Kit-ze's breast. 



CHAPTER X 




AN AKRESTED SACRIFICE 

HE hand moved 
nearer and nearer 
Mr. Kit-ze's breast ; 
a moment more and 
it had buried itself 
in the folds of his 
robe. Even as 
Helen continued to 
gaze like one trans- 
fixed, ere yet she 
had the power to recover herself, a face appeared above 
the hand. But it was not the face she had expected 
to see that of Mr. Choi-So. Instead, the moonlight 
showed her clearly the repulsive countenance of the old 
mutang. 

There are moments when sudden excitement leads us 
into a line of action our cooler moments would by no 
means approve, when quick emotions bring impulses 
that are followed without a pause for reasoning. Such 
a time had now come to Helen. Mr. Kit-ze was being 
robbed. She could see that plainly. The thief was 
the old mutang, and the object of her theft, it almost 
instantly flashed into Helen's mind, was the red miriok. 
102 



AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 103 

In truth, even as the intuition came to her, she saw the 
hideous little image in the woman's hand. 

All Helen's energies were now bent toward a frus- 
tration of the old woman's design of carrying away the 
miriok. She, Helen, must recover it ere the mutang 
got off with it. For if the miriok disappeared, how 
could she ever carry out her good intentions for either 
Mr. Kit-ze or Choi-So ? All would be frustrated. For 
would not Mr. Kit-ze be violently angry? and would 
he not at once charge the theft to Choi-So ? And what 
might not happen? As to poor Choi-So, he would 
surely grow demented when he found that the image 
had gone beyond his reach oh, she felt that he would ! 

In her sudden excitement, Helen never stopped for 
reasoning. Hence it did not occur to her that her tes- 
timony would exonerate Choi-So with Mr. Kit-ze, nor 
that, so far as the part relating to Choi-So was concerned 
the old mutang might be located and the stolen image 
recovered. 

All that Helen then thought of was the recovery of 
the miriok. She must get it and at once. Even now 
the woman was slipping away with it. If she waited to 
arouse the others the old woman would be gone, for at 
the first sounds of alarm, she would speed away like a 
hunted animal up the bank. Helen knew the magic 
influence of money, especially of shining yen. Had not 
the old woman shown her greed for them during the 
afternoon ? If the miriok could be recovered, it would 
surely be through the agency of the yen. 

Both girls had lain down in the loose wrappers they 



104 THE RED MIRIOK 

wore for comfort during a part of the day. In the 
pocket of hers Helen had her purse. Besides a few 
smaller silver pieces there were in it three yen. 

She leaned quickly over Dorothy ; she placed her 
arm under her neck and gently shook her, all the while 
whispering: "Get up quickly, dear, and come with 
me. Don't speak out, don't question ; only come and 
be quick ! quick ! ' ' 

Fortunately, Dorothy was not hard to arouse when 
once she had been touched. Like some even heavy 
sleepers whom a vigorous call cannot awaken, the touch 
was like magic. In a second or so she was fully awake, 
and gazing at Helen in deep wonder but alert. 

" It is the red miriok I ' ' said Helen to Dorothy again 
in a whisper. ' ' The old mutang has come and stolen 
it from Mr. Kit-ze. He does not know it, and there is 
no time to arouse him and the others. We must re- 
cover it. If we are quick we can overtake her before 
she gets away. Then this will accomplish the rest, ' ' 
she added, confidently holding up the purse. 

The mutang had now sprung down from the side of 
the sampan into which she had crept, and was moving 
rapidly up the slight incline when Helen and Dorothy 
in turn reached the bank. She saw them almost in- 
stantly and, with a muffled cry, very much like the 
growl of an animal, increased her speed. 

"Stop ! ' ' said Helen in low tones, and as persuasively 
as she could. " Stop ! We only want to talk to you. 
We mean no harm. ' ' 

But the old Avoman either did not understand them 



AN AEEESTED SACRIFICE 105 

or she would not stop. It was evidently the latter, for 
as much as she could, she quickened her pace. But 
swift as she Avas, Helen and Dorothy were even swifter. 
They were only a pace or two behind her as the top of 
the bank was reached. 

It was not far from daylight. The signs of the ap- 
proaching dawn had already begun to appear along the 
eastern sky. At the brow of the bluff and stretching 
away from the temple, was the village of rude mud 
huts, with now and then a more pretentious one showing 
in their midst. There was one principal street which 
ran along between the rows of huts. The mutang made 
for this with Helen and Dorothy close behind her. 

"Stop!" entreated Helen again, and louder than 
before. ' ' Oh, do stop ! We mean no harm. We only 
want to talk to you." But the more earnestly she en- 
treated, the more determined the old woman seemed to 
be to resist her, to escape from her. 

Helen had now drawn near enough to lay hold of the 
old woman's clothing, but her grasp was violently 
shaken off, as the mutang sprang away again with re- 
newed energy. 

The two girls, intensely excited, stuck to the chase. 
All their thoughts were concentrated upon it ; their 
one desire to overtake the old woman and to induce her, 
by offering yen in exchange, to return the miriok. Ab- 
sorbed in these thoughts, this desire, they lost sight of 
all else, especially of how every moment that they were 
getting nearer and nearer to the woman they were going 
farther and farther away from the sampan. 



106 



THE KED MIRIOK 



" Oh," said Helen breathlessly, " we must overtake 
her ! We must get her to give us the miriok. We 




' STOP ! ' ENTREATED HELEN ! " 



can't let her escape with it in this manner, for what 
then could we do about poor Choi-So and Mr. Kit-ze ? " 



AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 107 

" Yes," replied Dorothy, "we must get it back. I 
am like you, Helen, I can't bear to see the old woman 
get off with it. Oh, every time I think of that poor 
man Choi-So and his melancholy, pleading eyes, I feel 
-that we must keep on, that we must overtake her and 
secure the image by some means ! " 

' ' Why, ' ' said Helen suddenly, ' ' I have forgotten 
to tell her about the yen I have for her." Then she 
began to call, holding up her purse : ' ' See ! I have yen 
for you. Stop and let me tell you about it. ' ' 

At last she had used the magic words. At sound of 
them, twice repeated, the mutang slackened her pace. 
Then she turned her head. Encouraged by these 
signs, Helen renewed her efforts. 

They were now some distance into the village, and a 
half-mile or more from the sampan. The red glow of 
the coming morning had fully dyed the east. Already 
there were signs of stirring life in the huts about them. 
Then too, the noise of running feet and of Helen's 
loudly spoken words had attracted attention. One by 
one forms began to appear on the street. Soon there 
was quite a group in the neighborhood of the pursued 
and pursuers. By the time Helen had succeeded in 
gaining the old mutang' s interest, there were many cu- 
rious spectators surrounding them. 

"What is all this commotion about?" asked one 
man as he approached. Then as he noted the mutang 
he stopped respectfully. The old woman had now 
paused in her running, and had turned toward Helen. 
" What were the words? Say them again." 



108 THE BED MIKIOK 



Helen repeated them. 

" Why are you running after me in this way ? Why 
do you offer me yen f ' ' she now asked angrily. 

Helen told her as simply and as plainly as she could. 

At this the old woman's eyes blazed more than ever. 
But she seemed to take a second thought, and asked 
cautiously, " How many yenl " 

' ' Two, ' ' replied Helen, closely watching her face. 

The old woman shook her head vigorously, then be- 
gan to stamp. "Too little! too little!" she said. 
"Your head is under your arm to think I'd be such an 
idiot!" 

Then she set off again. 

' ' Three ! ' ' called Helen desperately, for she knew 
this was the limit of her resources so far as yen Avere 
concerned. 

' ' No ! no ! " shouted the old woman. ' ' Too little ! 
too little ! Five or none. ' ' 

As the last sentence was uttered, she turned to see its 
effect on Helen, but as there was not the response she 
expected, she renewed her efforts to get beyond their 
reach. 

" Oh, if I only had my purse too ! " said Dorothy. 
' ' But I gave it to my brother yesterday just before we 
left Mr. Ko's." 

In her despair Helen called after the old woman 
again and again to stop, to turn back with them to the 
sampan, promising her the yen she desired if only she 
would do so, and further assuring her that no harm 
should come to her, for Helen knew Mallard would 



AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 109 

gladly supply the amount of yen she lacked. She 
would tell him about the mirioJc. She had been in- 
tending to do it the first favorable opportunity. 

There was now quite a hubbub in the street, for in 
addition to Helen's calls and Dorothy's added entreaties, 
there were the shrill cries of defiance of the old mutang 
herself. People had come running from all directions, 
and their loudly voiced questions and exclamations 
added to the noise. Among others there came five run- 
ners, the court officers of a near-by yangban (gentle- 
man), who was serving as magistrate. 

When they saw the two girls they began to cry out 
something against the hated foreigners, and three of 
them at once took Helen and Dorothy into custody, 
while the other two hastened away to capture the 
mutang. They were too hardened to mind the old sor- 
ceress and her wiles. Moreover, the court was no re- 
specter of persons. 

Helen and Dorothy were now much frightened and, 
for the first time, began to realize what they had done 
in setting off on this mad chase after the old mutang. 

Helen was the first to recover herself. "I guess," 
she said, " it won't be so dreadful. They won't dare 
hurt us. And soon our dear ones in the sampan will 
come to the rescue, for surely we can get them word. 
Anyhow, it won't be long ere they miss us, and they'll 
search the town over till they find us." 

A young man, whom Helen declared looked more 
honest than any of the others, was soon engaged, in 
consideration of the offer of two of Helen's smaller silver 



110 THE BED MIRIOK 

pieces, to carry the news of their predicament to the 
sampan. But alas for Helen's confidence ! After se- 
curing the silver he had taken only about a dozen steps 
toward the river when, overcome by curiosity to see the 
thing out, he turned back. 

The 'mutang had now been captured, but not until 
she had made such vigorous resistance that not only the 
clothing of the runners had been torn, but their faces 
also scratched. 

In close company with the old mutang, and with the 
runners encircling them so that there could be no 
chance of escape, and a leering, hooting mob following 
them, the two girls were conducted along the street to 
the house of the yangban. 

"Oh, Dorothy," said Helen, "this is dreadful!" 
and, in her pain and mortification, she sought to con- 
ceal as much of her face as she could with her hands. 

" Yes, " said Dorothy, on the verge of tears. " Oh, 
Helen, it would have been better, many times, to have 
let the miriok go." 

"No," said Helen, "no !" 

It was now sunrise, but far too early for the magis- 
trate. They were informed that they must wait an 
hour or more. 

Dorothy and Helen were finally permitted to enter 
the women's -apartments. They afterward learned 
that it was through the overwhelming curiosity of the 
yangban' s chief wife. At the entrance they were laid 
hold of by the serving-women and fairly dragged into 
the apartment. There they had a trying experience 



AN ARRESTED SACRIFICE 111 

which lasted nearly an hour. To them it seemed five 
times that length. Their clothing, their faces, and 
their hair in turn were inspected, and by each wife. 
They were bidden to take off their shoes, their wrap- 
pers, and other wearing apparel, and each wife in turn 
must try on each article. But the bulk of the curi- 
osity was directed toward Helen's hair. It seemed that 
the women would never tire of handling it. They even 
wanted to cut it off, and but for Helen's heroic efforts, 
aided by Dorothy's quick ingenuity, would have suc- 
ceeded. 

At length they were summoned before the yangban, 
the wives, unable to restrain their curiosity, following 
them to the room, where they sat behind a screen. 

The yangban, who was quite a young man, was 
lounging on his platform and smoking an immense 
cigar. He Avas dressed in a pea-green silk robe con- 
fined by a red girdle, and on each hand was a very 
showy paste-diamond ring. 

He had ordered the outer door to be thrown open, 
and had allowed as many of the curious crowd to enter 
as could be accommodated within a certain space. 
Near him stood his interpreter, for he had early been 
informed that two of the accused were foreigners. 
After smoking awhile in silence, he commanded the 
offenders to be brought before him for the usual form 
of questions. He began with Helen. As she stepped 
a little apart from the others, and nearer to the magis- 
trate, in her earnestness to tell him her story, she hap- 
pened to raise her eyes for a moment and let them rest 



112 THE RED MIRIOK 

upon the crowd gathered at her left. As she did so a 
little muffled cry escaped her. There, standing almost 
in the front line, and with his dark eyes fixed mourn- 
fully upon her, was Choi-So. How had he come there ? 
Afterward she learned that he had not been far away 
from the sampan, and, sleeping very lightly because of 
the thoughts that disturbed him, had been attracted by 
the sound of running feet and by Helen's calls to the 
old woman. He had overtaken them just as they had 
been arrested and started to the yangban's. He had 
heard Helen try to tell one of the runners the cause of 
the trouble. He had gleaned just enough to set him 
on fire with interest and excitement. For an instant 
Choi -So 's presence at the magistrate's court so discon- 
certed Helen that she could not remember the words 
she had been on the point of uttering. But soon more 
confidence returned, and she began bravely to tell her 
story. 

The magistrate listened patiently, but he was evi- 
dently full of curiosity and deeply excited over the ap- 
pearance of the two young girls. Though he had seen 
the white foreigners on the streets of Seoul, yet he had 
never before been brought in such contact with them. 
The fearless, earnest manner of both girls impressed 
him and had much to do with his decision. 

The mutang should return the image, he declared. 
He had not asked to see it yet, and so was in no wise 
impressed by it. Helen and Dorothy had proved to be 
of such tremendous interest that all minor objects had 
been for the time obscured. 



AN ARRESTED SACEIFICE 113 

Yes, the mutang should return the image, and the 
yen that Helen had offered should go to himself. 

This decision was barely rendered when there came a 
communication from his chief wife. He appeared to 
frown over it for a few moments, all the while smoking 
hard. Then he further announced, and in the most 
laconic manner, that Helen was to sacrifice her hair ere 
receiving the image. 

A cry of dismay escaped Helen, while Dorothy, hot 
with indignation, began to pour out her protests, first 
to the magistrate, then to Helen. 

"It can't be done! You can't think of such a 
thing! Don't! Don't!" 

"Oh, yes, ' ' said Helen, who had now grown strangely 
quiet and calm. "It isn't such a dreadful sacrifice, 
dear. There are many far worse. I can endure it. 
My hair will grow out again. Oh, surely it is worth 
this when we remember what it means to get back the 
miriok !" 

All the while she was speaking, though she was look- 
ing at Dorothy, yet Helen saw those mournful eyes that 
she knew were fixed upon her from the other side of the 
room. 

"Take the scissors, Dorothy," she entreated. "I 
had forgotten until now that I had my folding ones 
here in the little case in my pocket. Oh, it will be so 
much better for you to do it, dear, for I couldn't bear 
any of those rude hands to touch me. ' ' 

Dorothy took the scissors, but still making vigorous 
protest. 

H 



114 THE EED MIEIOK 

' ' Do, Dorothy, do, my dear, ' ' pleaded Helen. 

With trembling hand Dorothy grasped the rich, shin- 
ing braid. The scissors were raised ; but ere the two 
gleaming blades could close on the glossy strand, a 
voice cried out authoritatively : 

"Stop! Stop!" 

Helen and Dorothy raised their eyes simultaneously. 
It was Mr. Kit-ze. He had pressed to the extreme 
limit of the line of spectators, and with his hat gone, 
his clothing in wild disorder, his eyes gleaming like two 
globes of fire, was gesticulating frantically to the 
magistrate. 



CHAPTER XI 



"ONE SOUL" 



'R. KIT-ZE continued 
to gesticulate and to 
cry out to the magis- 
trate, although those 
near-by sought to re- 
strain him. He even 
tried to pass the bar- 
rier, but was each 
time pushed back by 
the guards. 

The magistrate at 
~~" first appeared not to 

notice him, but after a while, overcome by his curiosity, 
he turned his head and called to Mr. Kit-ze : "What 
do you want, fellow? I'll put you in the cangue 1 if 
you don't cease that noise." 

"A word!" cried Mr, Kit-ze. "A word with 
you, most high and exalted ! " 

The magistrate eyed him a moment nonchalantly. 
Then he said to a runner : " Bring him here." 
Mr. Kit-ze approached and, falling- upon his heels, 




1 A wooden collar worn by Korean offenders against the law. 

115 



116 THE EED MIRIOK 

prostrated himself three times before the yangban, 
touching his forehead to the floor each time. 

As he arose, there fluttered from his fingers a strip 
of yellow ribbon, and those who were near to him saw 
stamped upon it in red a dragon with four wings and 
tongue extended. 

" See ! " said Mr. Kit-ze, as he held it before the 
magistrate. ' ' See ! renowned son of a renowned 
father. most exalted, I claim the promise." 

A look of intelligence began to dawn in the magis- 
trate's eye. He looked closely at the streamer of yel- 
low ribbon. " Go on," he said to Mr. Kit-ze. "Go 
on, but keep your head above your shoulders, so as to 
make clear what you are trying to say.'.' 

" On a blessed day for your poor, miserable serv- 
ant," began Mr. Kit-ze, "your exalted person came 
down the Han in a craft that went to grief in the rap- 
ids. Your polemen, losing their heads, deserted, and 
but for the assistance of the unworthy being now speak- 
ing to you and his poleman, there would have been 
neither craft nor cargo belonging to your exalted self to 
enter Seoul. You gave me yen, but you gave me this 
too," holding the ribbon nearer as he spoke, "and 
your most eloquent tongue, that always speaks straight, 
declared that if there was ever anything this miserable 
wretch desired of you that could be granted, it should 
be so. ' ' 

" I remember, " said the magistrate. "Goon." 

' ' I ask you now, renowned and honorable, to 
spare the hair of the daughter of him who is known 



ONE SOUL 117 

as the exalted teacher," and here Mr. Kit-ze turned 
toward Helen, who, ever since his sudden appearance, 
had been regarding him with a questioning if not puz- 
zled wonder. How had he come there, and where were 
the others? Had he alone learned of their where- 
abouts, and how had it so happened ? 

"Take instead something of your wretched serv- 
ant's," continued Mr. Kit-ze to the magistrate, " and 
leave undisturbed the beautiful strands that are a hap- 
piness to her whom they adorn and a joy in the eyes of 
those who love her." 

" Oh, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen softly, a great, warm 
flood of feeling sweeping over her heart as she compre- 
hended what he had asked and noted the deep earnest- 
ness in his eyes as he turned them upon her, "don't 
mind about my hair ; please don't. It won't be so 
dreadful to me to lose it. Don't get yourself into 
trouble for my sake," and now she laid her hand upon 
his shoulder in earnest pleading. 

"I'll fear to suffer nothing if done for you, 
daughter of the honorable teacher. ' ' And now his eyes 
were misty with feeling as their gaze lingered upon her. 

' ' Come, is this all you want ? ' ' asked the magis- 
trate impatiently and evidently resenting the conversa- 
tion now going on between Helen and Mr. Kit-ze. 

" Yes, it is all your wretched servant has to ask of 
you," replied Mr. Kit-ze. " most honorable," he 
began to plead, ' ' spare, I entreat you, the beautiful 
hair of her who is the daughter of the exalted teacher, 
and nothing more will I ask of you. Nothing ! " 



118 THE EED MIRIOK 

' ' But the miriok, Mr. Kit-ze, the miriok f ' ' said 
Helen in an undertone and surprised that he had 
seemed to take no thought of it in his appeal to the 
magistrate. For he surely had heard enough of the 
proceedings to understand why she and Dorothy had 
been brought before the yangban. 

" The miriok f " said Mr. Kit-ze softly and looking 
at her with eyes whose confidence touched her beyond 
expression. ' ' He will give you the miriok. He has 
said it." 

Then, as a sudden, strange expression came into his 
eyes, he glanced up quickly and straight toward the 
line of spectators. "There is another," he said, his 
lips moving nervously, " and I must ! " He paused ; 
then she heard him say again, ' ' Oh, I must ! ' ' 

Helen's heart leaped. Did he mean Mr. Choi -So ? 
Had he seen him among the spectators ? It was more 
than likely that he had, as the latter stood near to 
where Mr. Kit-ze was when he began to gesticulate to 
the magistrate. 

" I can't see why your request shouldn't be granted," 
said the magistrate after a pause, and to Mr. Kit-ze ; 
" especially as you have brought that at sight of which 
no gentleman could break his word," and he pointed 
to the streamer of yellow ribbon that Mr. Kit-ze still 
held. "I remember the service. Now let me hear 
the request again." 

Mr. Kit-ze repeated it with all the eloquence that 
heart and tongue could bestow upon it. 

" Take the image from the old woman and give it to 



ONE SOUL 119 

the young foreigner, ' ' said the magistrate, ' ' and there 
will be no cutting of her hair, ' ' he added firmly. 

As he uttered the last sentence, he threw his head up 
and glanced somewhat defiantly at the screen behind 
which he knew his wives were sitting. But the chief 
lady of his household was inexorable. Another mes- 
sage came to him, and quickly. She would renounce 
her desire for all of Helen' hair, but she must have 
some of it. A strand would now suffice her. 

"No," said Mr. Kit-ze, "no ! " and moved nearer 
to Helen as though to protect her. " It must not be ! " 

' ' I can spare a strand, ' ' said Helen soothingly to 
Mr. Kit-ze, "without it's ever showing where it has 
been cut." 

Then she turned to Dorothy. " Help me undo the 
braids quickly, dear, and get a part of one of them. 
You will know where to cut. Get a good-sized piece, ' ' 
she added with a smile. " We must give her her curi- 
osity's worth." 

As the braids were loosened and the strands swept in 
shining waves over Helen's shoulders, falling below her 
waist, there was a chorus of quick exclamations, fol- 
lowed by prolonged murmurs of astonishment. Only 
Mr. Kit-ze groaned. 

Urged by Helen, Dorothy severed the portion of 
hair, which was at once conveyed to the yangban's chief 
wife. They could hear the excited expressions that 
sounded from behind the screen. 

Mr. Kit-ze looked miserable. He stood with folded 
hands mournfully regarding Helen. His eyes said 



120 THE RED MIRIOK 

plainly, though his lips did not, ' ' I tried to save it. 
If only you had let me ! " 

" Dear Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, " how I do thank 
you for " 

But here she stopped, for the runner, who had at 
length succeeded, with the assistance of another, in get- 
ting the miriok from the old mutang was now offering it 
to her. He was also demanding for the magistrate the 
yen that had been mentioned. 

Helen gave them to him, then reached for the miriok. 
But how her hand trembled ! A pang too struck her 
heart. How different Avas the feeling to that with 
which she had thought she would receive the miriok if 
only she could succeed in recovering it ! Though it 
had been stolen from Mr. Kit-ze, yet her chief thought 
when pursuing the old mutang had been of poor Choi- 
So, and of how frantic he would be should the miriok 
pass away from him. Now the miriok had been given 
back to her. She stood there with it in her hand. 
But there too stood Mr. Kit-ze, and she felt, if she 
did not see, his burning glance fixed upon the image in 
her clasp. How much he had dared for her ! For it 
is considered a serious matter in Korea to interrupt a 
magistrate in the midst of his court. With what ear- 
nestness and eloquence had he pleaded for her hair, 
seeming to forget even the precious miriok in his desire 
to save to her that which he knew was pleasing to her- 
self and a delight to her loved ones. He had even 
used his one claim to the favor of the magistrate in her 
behalf. 



ONE SOUL 121 

Yes, there stood Mr. Kit-ze with burning eyes re- 
garding her, and there too, not more than ten paces 
away, was Choi-So. Only the moment before she had 
seen him, standing at almost the same spot and in almost 
the same position, his eyes riveted upon her every move- 
ment. How singularly quiet he had been ! But it was, 
she felt, the quiet of concentrated emotion emotion 
that might at any moment break forth. 

Oh, what was she to do ? A fervent prayer winged 
its way upward as she thought quickly, intently. Now 
of all times she must not make a mistake. The peace 
of a soul, maybe in the end the peace of two souls, 
was at stake. Suddenly her resolution was formed. 
She would give the miriok to Mr. Kit-ze, then, when 
they were released from the court and were away from 
all those inquisitive eyes, she would bravely plead with 
him to return it to Choi-So. She would see Choi-So 
too. She would entreat him to wait and to leave it to 
her. 

"Mr. Kit-ze," she said, speaking slowly and try- 
ing to make each expression plain to him, " I saw the 
old woman when she robbed you. I called to Doro- 
thy, for I knew I had not the time to awaken you and 
the others, and we chased her. Oh, how anxious we 
were to get the miriok for for " 

But she could not tell him yet. Besides, the magis- 
trate was through with them, and was even now instruct- 
ing the runners to conduct them away. 

As they turned to leave the room, Helen gently 
pressed the miriolc into Mr. Kit-ze's hands. ' ' Take 



122 THE RED MIRIOK 

it, ' ' she said ; ' ' but later, when we get away from 
here, I must tell you something." 

His fingers closed about it nervously, and he paused 
for a moment as though his emotion at receiving it 
again had overcome him. Then she heard him mur- 
mur, "Wrong, wrong. I must give it back," and, 
ere she could speak to him, he had moved hastily away. 

Surprised, Helen, with a word to Dorothy, turned 
to follow him. After so bravely coming to the rescue, 
was he going to abandon them in that strange place to 
make their way back to the sampan alone ? 

"Stop, Mr. Kit-ze, stop ! " entreated Helen. 

" Oh, do wait for us, Mr. Kit-ze! " pleaded Doro- 
thy. 

He paid no heed to them, only kept on ; and now 
Helen, for the first time, realized whither he was going. 
It was straight toward Mr. Choi-So. Her heart almost 
stopped beating. "What would happen? She must 
follow him and know. As she reached them, it was to 
see Mr. Kit-ze holding the image toward Choi-So, and 
to hear his tremulously uttered words, " Sorry. Sorry. 
It was wrong. She showed me." 

Then he raised his head and added another word, 
but with almost pathetic entreaty, " Go ! " 

"No," said Helen quickly, "no," and reached 
out her hand to detain Mr. Choi-So, but too late. 

With a muffled cry of joy that fell distinctly upon 
the ears of those around him, Mr. Choi-So grasped the 
image, dropped something into Mr. Kit-ze's hand and, 
turning, sprang away. He passed swiftly through the 



ONE SOUL 



123 



crowd that opened at once to let him by, believing that 
he was running in search of his mind, as they expressed 




"'SORRY. SORRY. IT WAS WRONG! SHE SHOWED ME.' " 

it, and to their journey's end the inmates of the sam- 
pan did not see nor hear of him again. 
"Oh, Mr. Kit-ze," said Helen, " I " 



124 THE EED MIRIOK 

But the sentence was never finished, for a joyous cry 
from Dorothy arrested her in the act of speaking the 
words, and, at the same time, she felt an arm slipped 
about her waist and heard a voice deep with emotion 
saying, " My daughter, this has been dreadful for you. " 

It was her father, and there too, was Mallard. How 
rejoiced they were to find her and Dorothy safe. 

Soon the story of the search for them was told, and 
then Helen, for the first time, had light on a subject 
that even in the midst of far more engrossing things 
had caused her much wonder. This was as to how Mr. 
Kit-ze had found his way to the court-room without 
the others. 

The old boatman had slept on until sunrise. The 
other inmates too had finished their morning naps, 
had performed their toilets, and were ready for break- 
fast ere the disappearance of the two girls was discov- 
ered. It was after repeated calls and numerous sarcas- 
tic remarks on Clarence's part had failed either to 
bring them forth or to win even a retort from them, 
that Mr. Eeid had raised the curtain of their sleeping 
apartment for an examination. But still their absence 
had not caused alarm, for the first thought was that 
they might be walking on the bank near by. How- 
ever, as a search in that direction failed to discover 
them, a well defined fear soon spread. In a short time 
it became evident that they had either wandered away 
and become lost or had been abducted. 

It was quickly arranged that Mr. Keid, Mr. Kit-ze, 
and Mallard should set off in search for them, while 



ONE SOUL 125 

Mr. Wilburn, Clarence, and Joyce remained to take 
care of the sampan. 

In the town they soon heard of the arrest ; but as 
there were two magistrates, there were, of course, two 
trails to follow, as no one they met seemed to know 
before which one the girls had been carried. In the 
eagerness of inquiry, Mr. Kit-ze became separated 
from Mr. Reid and Mallard and, while they went on 
the wrong trail at first, he went on the right one, 
arriving almost as soon as the court had begun. 

There was a joyful reunion at the sampan. Only 
Mr. Kit-ze looked sad. Helen watched for the first 
opportunity to speak to him when alone and said : 
"Oh, Mr. Kit-ze, that was a good, brave thing you 
did. How glad it has made me ! " 

The gloomy look began to leave his face. He 
turned toward her, a joy awakening in his eyes. " I 
did it," he said, " because you told me." 

" I? " asked Helen astonished. " Oh, no, Mr. Kit- 
ze, I never told you." 

" Not with lips, but with eyes," declared Mr. Kit-ze. 
" Oh, when you looked at me so, I knew I must. I 
felt it here," laying his hand with a pathetic move- 
ment on his heart. " And when you talked to me, 
daughter of the most honorable teacher, oh, it was like 
light coming, coming, that is almost here." 

' ' But how did you know that I knew about the 
miriokf" she asked, now more astonished than ever. 

"I heard him. The day on the bluff. Oh, how 
frightened poor Kit-ze, and wretched, wretched ! " 



126 THE BED MIEIOK 

So he had heard Choi -So tell the story, and though 
he had hotly protested against his accompanying them 
as poleman, all the time vigorously declaring to himself 
that he would never give up the mirioJc, yet the seeds 
of better things had taken root in his heart, were even 
then beginning to push their tender shoots upward. 
And how Helen's deep interest, her kindness to him, 
her evident concern, above all, the sweet, earnest words 
she had spoken how these had brought just the nour- 
ishment to make the seed grow ! The hand that no 
harsh force of compulsion could ever have made give 
up the idol to which it clung had brought it tremblingly 
to the feet of love, won by its all-conquering power. 

They turned back from the old temple above Yo-Ju 
after thoroughly exploring it. They also spent a day 
in Yo-Ju, where Mr. Kit-ze fortunately found a pole- 
man whom he knew and in whom he had confidence. 
They stopped at Mr. Ko's long enough to pick up Mr. 
Chefoo, whom they found well on the road to recovery, 
and to leave with their old friend some remembrances 
brought from Yo-Ju. 

What a joy it was to Helen, on the homeward jour- 
ney, to watch Mr. Kit-ze coming more and more into 
the light. 

It was one afternoon, just as they were passing along 
beneath the beautifully verdured bluffs that indicate 
the nearness of the mountain range which encircles 
Seoul, that Dorothy, slipping her arm with warm pres- 
sure about Helen's waist, laid a book across Helen's 
knee with a passage marked. 



ONE SOUL 



127 



After a moment, Helen looked up, her eyes suffused 
with tears, for this is what she had read : 

Perchance in heaven, some day, to me 

Some blessed saint will come and say : 
" All hail, beloved, but for thee 

My soul to death had fallen a prey " ; 

Then oh, what rapture in the thought 

One soul to glory to have brought. 




SHAN FOLK LORE STORIES 



FROM THE 



HILL AND WATER COUNTRY 

BY 

WILLIAM C. GRIGGS, M. D. 



TO MY FRIEND 

3. fl. (Suebfng, 2). 2>., 3f. 1R. ZU S. 

Principal of the American Baptist College, Rangoon, and Senior 

Shan Missionary, the greatest authority upon 

Shan literature, and the translator of the 

Bible into that language, this 

little book is dedicated by 

THE AUTHOR 



INTRODUCTION 



THE following stories have been taken from the great 
mass of unwritten lore that is to the black-eyed, brown- 
skinned boys and girls of the Shan mountain country 
of Burma what "Jack the Giant Killer" and "Cin- 
derella ' ' are to our own children. 

The old saw as to the songs and laws of a country 
may or may not be true. I feel confident, however, 
that stories such as these, being as they are purely 
native, with as little admixture of Western ideas as it was 
possible to give them in dressing them in their garment 
of English words, will give a better insight into what 
the native of Burma really is, his modes of thought 
and ways of looking at and measuring things, than a 
treatise thrice as long and representing infinitely more 
literary merit than will be found in these little tales ; 
and at the same time I hope they will be found to the 
average reader, at least, more interesting. 

It may, perhaps, be not out of place to say a little 
of the ' ( hpeas ' ' who appear so frequently in these 
stories. The hpea is the Burman not, and is " a being 
superior to men and inferior to Brahmas, and having 
its dwelling in one of the six celestial regions " (Doc- 
tor Gushing' s ' ' Shan-English Dictionary " ) . They are 
universally worshiped by the inhabitants of Burma. 



VI INTRODUCTION 

If a man has fever, the best thing to do is to " ling 
hpea," that is, to feed the spirits, and the sufferer 
therefore offers rice, betel-nut, painted sticks, etc. 
Some kinds of hpeas live in the sacred banyan trees, 
and frequently have I seen men, after a long day's 
march in the jungle, sit shivering on the ground when 
within an arm's length lay good dry fire- wood. It had 
fallen, however, from a tree in which lived a hpea, and 
not a man would dare touch it. Big combs of honey 
may be in the nests of the wild bees, but it is safe from 
the hungry traveler if it is sheltered by such a tree. 
Some watch over wells, tanks, and lakes, and it is 
notorious throughout the Southern Shan States, that a 
promising young American missionary, who was 
drowned while shooting, met his death by being dragged 
to the bottom of the lake by the guardian spirit, who 
had become incensed at him for killing a water -fowl on 
his domains. 

In Shan folk-lore the hero does not "marry and live 
happy ever after," but he becomes the king of the 
country. 

AMERICAN BAPTIST SHAN MISSION HOUSE, 
BHAMO, BUKMA, 1902. 



CONTENTS 

i 

A LATTNG KHIT 9 

How BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 19 

THE Two CHINAMEN 32 

THE STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG 45 

How THE HARE DECEIVED THE TIGER 57 

THE STORY OF THE TORTOISE 66 

THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD 78 

How THE WORLD WAS CREATED 85 

How THE KING OF PAGAN CAUGHT THE THIEF .... 92 

vii 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



" Each year at the Feast of Lights . . . she prayed" 10 

" The man standing at the top of the tree was the long-lost 

brother" 37 

' ' Again the cunning hare deceived the tiger " 63 

11 'lam nothing but a tortoise swimming in the lake ' " 67 

" On his way he saw what seemed to be a bed of flowers "... 79 



FOLK LORE STORIES 



"ALAUNGKHIT." 1 

ONCE upon a time there was a woman who lived in 
the State of Lai Hka. She was a very pious 
woman and always gave the best rice and puc to the 
priests as they walked, rice chattie in hand, through the 
city in the early morning. Every year when the girls 
and boys went to the river and filled their chatties with 
water to throw over the pagodas and idols to insure a 
good rainy season and abundant crops, she always had 
the largest bucket of the clearest water and threw it 
higher than anybody else. She carried the sweetest 
flowers to the zayat every evening, and on worship days 
took rice in the prettiest of cups made of banana leaves 
and offered to the Gautamas in the idol-house. 

But she was not happy. When her neighbors went 
to the pagodas they had their little ones tied upon their 
backs or running at their sides, but she had no child 
whom she could take with her, none to whom she could 
tell stories of the great Lord Sa Kyah who rules over 
the spirits in the hpea country, and so she was sad. 
She was getting old too, and often envied the women 

1 " ' A Laung,' one who is progressing toward a divine state; 
an incipient deity." Gushing 1 s "Shan Dictionary" p. 586. 

9 



10 FOLK LORE STORIES 

who lived near who had bright boys to run errands 
and girls to Jielp in the house. Each year at the Feast 
of Lights, when she sent her little candle floating down 
the river, she prayed for a child, but in vain. 

At last she made a pilgrimage to a pagoda where 
folks said was a parah who would give anything that 
was asked of him. Bright and early she set out, and 
on her head as an offering she carried an image of a 
tiger and one of a man, and when she arrived at the 1 
pagoda she offered the images and prayed for a son. 

While she was praying at the pagoda, Lord Sa Kyah 
heard her, took pity on her, and promised her a son. 
But, alas ! when he was born, to his mother's great sor- 
row, instead of being the beautiful boy she hoped for he 
was nothing but a frog. 

Lord Sa Kyah in order to comfort her, however, told 
her that her son was really a great hpea, and that after 
one year and seven months he would change into the 
most handsome man in all the hill and water country. 

All the women scoffed and made fun of the poor 
mother, and all through the village she was called 
Myeh Khit, or "Frog's Mother," but she bore their 
jeers in silence and never reviled in return. 

Now the king of the country had seven daughters. 
All were married except one, and one day Myeh Khit 
went to him to ask for this daughter in marriage for 
her son. The king was of course very angry that she 
should ask that his only remaining daughter should 
marry a frog, but he spoke deceitfully, called his 
daughter and asked her if she would be willing to ac- 



* w 



r 



,1? 





A LAUNG KHIT 11 

cept a frog for a husband. Like a dutiful daughter 
she told him that she would "follow his words" and 
do as lie wished, as she had no will apart from his. 

The king then called the woman and said : " O 
woman, I will give my only remaining daughter to your 
son, but I make one stipulation. You must build a 
road, paved and properly built, from the market-place 
to my palace ; the sides must be decorated with painted 
bamboos, and the work must be done within seven days 
or you shall die. Now go, and prepare for the work, 
and at the end of the seven days I will make ready the 
marriage feast for my daughter or order the executioner 
to take off your head." 

In great distress Myeh Khit returned to her home 
and sat down on the floor of her house and wept. All 
day long she bewailed her hopeless condition. In vain 
her son asked her the cause of her sorrow. Afraid of 
grieving him she would not tell him ; but at last when 
six out of the seven days had passed, and knowing the 
fate that awaited her on the morrow, she told him how 
she had gone to the king with her request, and the time 
being almost expired, that she must make ready to die 
on the morrow. 

"The executioner's sword has already been sharp- 
ened, my son," she said, "and to-day in bazaar they 
were talking of it, and promising to meet one another 
at the palace to-morrow when the sun should be over- 
head." 

As a last resource she made ready food and sweet- 
meats. She took paddy and placed it over the fire till 



12 FOLK LORE STORIES 

the heat broke the husks and the pure white grains ap- 
peared. These she mixed with the whitest of sugar, 
and as she was too poor to own plates, she went into 
the jungle to where the new bamboo was bursting 
through its green prison, and taking the broad cover- 
ings of the new leaves she fashioned them into dishes 
and offered them with many prayers for help to Lord 
Sa Kyah. 

"Our lord knoweth that my son can do nothing," 
she cried. " He has not even hands to help, and what 
can our lord's slave do to avoid the great trouble to 
which I have arrived ? ' ' 

That night in the lovely hpea country the mighty 
Lord Sa Kyah reclined on his golden throne of state. 
By and by the velvet mat became so hot that he could 
sit upon it no longer, and looking down he saw, squat- 
ting before him on the floor, a frog. 

" our lord," said the frog, " I come to remind our 
lord that he is his slave's father. My mother, our 
lord's slave, has arrived at great sorrow, and unless our 
lord pities us and takes compassion on our lord's slave, 
she will arrive at destruction to-morrow. Graciously 
do this act of kindness, chief of all the hpeas." 

Lord Sa Kyah took pity on his son and promised to 
help him. The four strongest spirits in his kingdom 
were four hpeas. They were twins and the name of the 
first two was Nan Ta Re and that of the second Hte Sa 
Kyung. These powerful spirits he ordered to complete 
the road during the night. 

The next morning when the king arose he looked 



A LAUJSTG KHIT 13 

forth from his palace and a most wonderful sight met 
his gaze. He rubbed his eyes, for he believed they de- 
ceived him. He pinched himself to see whether he was 
really awake or whether he was dreaming. For a won- 
derful thing had happened during the night, so wonder- 
ful, in fact, that one cannot be surprised that he thought 
it unreal. 

From the bazaar to the very gate of the palace was a 
broad, smooth road. On each side were brick walls 
covered with the whitest of cement, and decorated with 
the heads of lions, and two large griffins, built of brick 
and covered also with cement, guarded the entrance. 
They were more than twelve cubits high ; their mouths 
were Avide open and showed their terrible fangs, and 
their eyes looked upon the king with a stony glare. 
The road was paved with blocks of stone cut as smooth 
and laid as true as the cells of a honeycomb. There 
was one road for men, one for oxen, and yet another 
for horses. Zayats had been built here and there so 
that travelers aweary could rest and be thankful, and 
over all was a wide canopy of white cloth that extended 
entirely from end to end and from side to side to pro- 
tect the king from the sun when he should move along 
the road to observe its wonders more closely. 

In utter amazement he beat the gong that hung ready 
to his side with such vigor that amats, soldiers, attend- 
ants, and the people from the city, came rushing out of 
their houses to the palace gates expecting at least that 
the neighboring prince with whom they had long been 
at war had taken the city by surprise ; but they, like 



14 FOLK LOKE STORIES 

the king, stood transfixed and speechless with wonder 
when they saw the road with its carvings and zayats and 
the canopy with the golden border spread above all. 

The king called Myeh Khit. She . came, and hidden 
in her turban was her son. The king had thought to 
punish this presumptuous woman by giving her an im- 
possible task to do with a penalty that put her beyond 
the power of offending again, and was of course angry 
and disappointed that his scheme had been unsuccessful ; 
but the occurrence had become the common talk of the 
market-place, and so he was obliged to carry out his 
part of the bargain, although it had gone contrary to 
his expectation and desires. So, much against his will, 
he called his daughter and gave an order that for seven 
days there was to be a feast in honor of the marriage of 
the princess. 

But when the rejoicings of the people were finished, 
Khit was not given permission to live in his father's 
palace but was sent with his wife and mother to live in 
the old house where he had been born. 

Six days after the marriage there was a feast at the 
pagoda, and the six daughters of the king went in 
state. 

They rode upon royal elephants ; dancers danced be- 
fore them ; the golden umbrellas protected them from 
the sun ; and everybody fell upon their knees and 
clasped their hands as the august personages went 
along. Their retinue filled the street when they stopped 
at the little house where their sister lived. 

"0 sister," they called, "are you coming to the 



A LAUNG KHIT 15 

feast? " but the poor girl in great shame told them she 
could not come, and when they had gone, she sat on the 
floor with her face in her hands and gave way to her 
grief. 

While she was sobbing, her husband approached and 
told her not to be sorrowful. " My father is the great 
Lord Sa Kyah," said he, " and he will give me any- 
thing I ask, so do not say, ' I am ashamed to go, as I 
have only a frog for a husband.' You shall yet see 
your proud father and unkind sisters bowing before 
you and offering you presents as they offer to gods. ' ' 

Seeing how distressed the poor girl really was, the 
Lord Sa Kyah took pity on them and descended to 
earth. He brought with him wonderful white clothes 
such as the hpeas wear. They were brighter than the 
stars that shoot across the sky at night, or the lightning 
that flashes over the heavens during the hot season. 
He also gave them a magic stone, which if placed under 
their tongues, would enable them to fly wherever they 
wished. 

The next morning was the last day of the feast when 
the boat races would be rowed, when the horses of the 
king and his chief amats would race for prizes, when 
the best jugglers Avould show their most wonderful 
tricks, and the best dancers would dance under the 
booths. In the midst of the fun and excitement a great 
shout rent the air : " The mighty Lord Sa Kyah is de- 
scending ! ' ' and right in the middle of the feasting 
there was a flash of brilliant light and two wonderful 
beings alighted. They were clothed in dazzling white, 



16 FOLK LORE STORIES 

and flew swifter than when a kingfisher darts from a 
tree toward its prey in the water. 

Every one came crowding around as near as they 
dared, and upon their knees offered presents of food to 
the wonderful beings. 

First and foremost came the princesses, who bowed 
till their foreheads touched the dust ; they lifted their 
clasped hands over their heads and turned away their 
faces while they offered the sweetest and most savory 
food to the visitors. But it was noticed that although 
the spirits ate the food offered by the a/mats and com- 
mon people, they would not eat that given by the prin- 
cesses, but wrapped it up and placed it on one side. 

The next day the princesses came to their sister's 
house and derided her. ' ' wife of an animal, ' ' they 
cried, ' ' you would not come to the feast, and so you 
lost the chance of seeing the mighty Lord Sa Kyah de- 
scend from the hpea country, ' ' and then they told of 
the wonderful sight, and again made fun of their unfor- 
tunate sister. 

Kbit's wife smiled at them and then she said: "It 
is you who are unfortunate, not I. My husband is not 
the ugly animal you think him to be, but is a great 
and powerful hpea. It was not the Lord Sa Kyah who 
descended yesterday, but his son, my husband, and my- 
self, and to prove my words, whose are these? " and she 
produced the very bundles of food that her sisters had 
offered the day before to the supposed ruler of all 
spirits. 

The sisters were surprised to see that she had the 



A LAUNG KHIT 17 

food there, but they laughed her to scorn when she told 
them of her husband. 

In order that his son should become mighty and 
famous, the Lord Sa Kyah sent one of his attendants 
to the king, and caused him to give an order to his 
children that they should have a boat race. The one 
who reached the winning post first and carried away 
the flag on its rattan pole was to be king in his room, 
and the one who came in last was to be slave to the 
fortunate one. 

There were great preparations among the servants 
of the six princesses, and many wagers were made as to 
who would be successful, but none wished to wager as 
to who would come in last, as all knew it would be the 
youngest sister. 

"She has no boat," said they, " and has no servants 
to make one, or money to buy one. Even if she had, 
what could she do ? Her husband has no hands, how 
could he row against and defeat the swift boatmen who 
have been called by the princesses? " 

The king gave seven days in which his daughters 
were to prepare for the race, and during that time the 
shouting of the various crews as they practised on the 
lake was heard from early morning till the sun dropped 
behind the mountains, but only six boats were seen. 

The race was to take place on a lake at the outskirts 
of the city, and on the morning of the seventh day, 
when the six princesses took their stations they were 
surprised to see that there was a seventh boat there, but 
they did not know that it was a magic boat sent by the 



18 FOLK LOEE STORIES 

Lord Sa Kyali from the lipea country, and that the six- 
teen rowers were not men, but hpeas. 

The course was over a thousand cubits to a post, 
around it, and return, and so fast did the magic boat 
glide through the water that it had covered the entire 
distance and the captain had laid the flag at the king's 
feet before any of the other boats had reached the first 
pole that showed half the distance. 

But something even more wonderful than that had 
taken place. During the race, the time set apart dur- 
ing which the son of Myeh Khit was to have the form 
of a frog had expired, and, lo ! he was now the most 
handsome man in all the hill and water country. He 
had a crown of gold upon his head, and the magic white 
clothes such as only hpeas wear were on his person. 
His wife was clothed in as beautiful a manner, and the 
king, at last seeing the mistake he had made in treating 
him so badly, knelt on the shore and asked : ' ' Which 
lord is the son of his slave? " by which he meant, which 
of the lords was the one to whom he had given his 
daughter. 

But the Lord Khit, as he was now called, did not 
take a mean revenge on his unkind brothers and sisters, 
and when they came on their knees begging for their 
lives, and asking the privilege of being his slaves, he 
took compassion on them, and instead of ordering them 
to immediate execution, made them his amats. 

This is why the Shans who live in the hill and water 
country worship Sau Maha Khit. 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE. 

BOH HAN ME was one of the greatest generals 
who ever lived in the hill and water country. 
Just what his original name was nobody knows now, 
but this story tells how he gained his title. 

One day he went into the jungle with his wife and 
his two children to gather nau, which is a kind of pue 
made from the young bamboo shoots. They were very 
successful in getting it, and were just on the point of 
going home with their loads, when right before them 
appeared a large black bear. The bear opened wide 
his mouth and roared, showing his immense white teeth 
and great throat, 'and came ambling toward them 
growling all the while in the fiercest kind of way. 

Now as soon as the man saw the bear he just threw 
away all the nau that he had in his hands and ran for 
his life, calling on his wife to do the same. The two 
children followed their father and left their mother to 
get out of her trouble as best she could. She, however, 
was as brave as her husband was cowardly, and instead 
of running away, she took a handful of the longest of 
the shoots and thrust them down the open throat of the 
bear and killed him. She then took the short sword 
that they had brought from home to cut the shoots, and 
with it she skinned the bear, cut him up, and made the 
skin into a sack in Avhich to carry the meat. 

19 



20 FOLK LORE STORIES 

Meanwhile her cowardly husband did not stop run- 
ning till he reached the city in which he lived, and then 
he told all his neighbors how he had been in the jungle 
and a great bear had attacked them ; how he had 
fought bravely for a long while, but at last it had killed 
his wife and eaten her. The neighbors were very sorry 
for him, but advised him to get home and fasten all the 
doors and windows before the spirit of his wife would 
have time to get in, for they said, seeing that she was 
killed when he was with her, her ghost would without 
doubt try and gain admittance to the house and haunt 
it. Once in, it would be very difficult to get her out. 

The man, more frightened than ever, ran home as fast 
as he could and called his children to bring all the rice 
that was already cooked into the house, and then they 
fastened up the two doors and the one window with 
bamboos and rattan. There was to be a feast in the 
city that night, and the two children wanted to go and 
see the fun, but their father was in such a fright that 
he would not give them permission to go, or even to 
look out through the holes in the sides of the house 
where the bamboo matting had come unfastened and 
bulged away from the posts. 

By this time the sun had set and it was just getting 
dark, and the man, tired with the hunt in the jungle 
and the excitement after, was just going to sleep when 
he heard a voice that he recognized as his wife's calling 
to be let in. 

" Husband, oie! " it called, " open the door and let 
me in. I am very tired and hungry, and want rice and 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 21 

sleep. Get up quickly. Why have you fastened up the 
window and doors with bamboos and rattan? There 
are no bad men around ; any one would think you were 
afraid thieves were coming to-night." 

The man was frightened almost to death when he 
heard his wife's voice, for he felt sure it was her ghost 
coming to haunt him, so he called out : 

' ' Ghost of my wife, oie ! I will not let you in. If I 
did I would never be able to get you out again. You 
want to haunt this house. I will not let you in. Go 
away, go away ! " 

In vain the woman told him that she was indeed his 
wife, that she was not a ghost at all, but had killed the 
bear and had his skin on her back with the meat in it, 
and begged to be let in ; the man would not believe her 
and so she had to wait outside. All night long she 
called and begged her husband to let her in, but in 
vain. When the sun had risen, however, he felt a little 
braver, and so he put his head out through the thatch, 
and saw that it really was his wife and not her ghost. 
With great joy he ran doAvn, opened the door, and let 
her in, but when his wife told him how she had killed 
the bear, he again became frightened. 

"We have arrived at great trouble, " said he. 
' ' When the people hear that you have killed a bear, 
they will most surely kill you. What shall we do to 
escape and be freed from the impending punishment? " 

But his wife was a clever woman, and when the 
neighbors came in to ask how it was that she had not 
been killed, she told a wonderful story, how through 



22 FOLK LORE STORIES 

the bravery of her husband she had been saved ; that 
he had seen the bear, and by his bravery, that was so 
great it was good to marvel at, it had been driven off. 
The neighbors were very pleased that so brave a man 
lived in their quarter, and he became famous, people 
calling him Gon Han Me, or " the man who saw the 
bear." 

Gon Han Me was very proud of his title, as many 
other vain people have been proud of titles they never 
earned, but it came near costing him his life, and this 
was the way it led him into great danger. One day a 
large cobra fell into the well that was in the yard be- 
fore the chief door of the king's palace, and everybody 
was afraid to draw water because of it. When the 
amats told the king that a cobra was in the well, he 
gave orders that it was to be taken out, but nobody was 
brave enough to go down the Avell and kill the snake. 
The chief amat was in great distress. He feared the 
king would deprive him of his office if the snake were 
not killed immediately. He was not brave enough to 
descend himself, and money, promises, and threats were 
of no avail to induce any one else to go. Everybody 
declined to take the risk, and said : " Of what use is 
money, or horses, or buffaloes, to a man bitten by a 
cobra? Will that free him from death? Nay, go 
yourself." 

The poor amat was at his wits' end, when at last one 
of the attendants told the king that in the quarter of 
the city where his sister lived, was a man so brave that 
he was called Gon Han Me, and said he : " If a man is 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 23 

brave enough to see a bear in the jungle aud not be 
afraid, surely he will dare go down the well and kill 
the cobra." 

The king was much pleased with the attendant for 
showing a way out of the difficulty. " He surely is the 
man we want," said he ; "go and call him immediately 
to come and destroy the snake. ' ' 

The attendant of the king came to Gon Han Me and 
said : "Brother, oief the king has heard that you are 
a very brave' man, so brave, in fact, that your neighbors 
all talk of you and you have arrived at the rank of 
being called ' Gon Han Me. ' Now in the royal well 
there is a snake, a cobra, which as you know is called 
the worst snake that lives. It is a very wicked snake 
and everybody has arrived at great trouble because of 
it. Nobody dares draw water there, and the king has 
given orders that it is to be killed. However, no one 
at the palace is brave enough to descend the well and 
kill the snake, but when his majesty heard of your great 
bravery, he sent me to order you to come immediately, 
descend the well, and kill the cobra. He will give you 
great rewards, and besides will make you a boh (officer) 
in the royal army." 

When Gon Han Me heard this he was in great dis- 
tress and called his wife. "Wife, oie! " he said ; "this 
unlucky name will certainly be the cause of my death. 
It will truly kill me. The king has called me to de- 
scend the royal well and kill a wicked snake that is 
frightening everybody in the palace. I am not brave 
enough to go. If I do not go, the king will have me 



24 FOLK LORE STORIES 

executed. I shall be killed whichever I do. If I go 
the snake will kill me, if I do not go the king will kill 
me. I shall arrive at destruction, and all because of 
this miserable name." 

The wife pondered awhile and then advised her hus- 
band to get dressed in his best clothes and go to the 
palace, look down the well to see what it was like, then 
make some excuse to come back home and she would 
tell him what next to do. 

The man was soon dressed in his best clothes, and 
was already going down the steps of the house when his 
wife called out that he had left his hsmn behind him. 
Now when the Shans go into the jungle, or on a journey, 
they carry with them a rice-bag, or hsan. This is a long 
narrow bag, more like a footless hose than anything 
else, and when filled with rice it is worn around the 
waist, where it looks like a big snake coiled around. 
Now Gon Han Me was very proud of his rice-bag, for 
instead of being made of plain white cloth, as is the cus- 
tom, it was embroidered all over with different colored 
wools, and was so long that it went around his waist 
several times. 

He was so excited and terrified that when he reached 
the well he did not notice that one end had been un- 
fastened and was dragging on the ground, and as he 
went to the well to look over, it caught around his legs, 
overbalanced him, and he went head first into the well 
with a tremendous splash. The next instant the snake 
lifting its head darted at him, and all that the men 
above, who were waiting with breathless interest to dis- 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 25 

cover how the battle would end, could hear, was an in- 
finite amount of splashing, yells, and hissing. Gon 
Han Me never knew how it was, but in the fall his hsan 
became twisted around the neck of the snake, and in a 
few minutes it was choked to death. 

The man for a while could hardly believe that the 
snake was really dead. It seemed too good to be true, 
but he came to the conclusion that his kam l was good, 
and he would yet be a great and famous man. He 
therefore assumed a heroic air, and at the top of his 
voice called to the men at the mouth of the well : 

"Brethren, oie! I have killed the snake and thus 
freed you from the great danger from which you were 
suffering. I will now throw up the end of this long 
rice-bag. Do you catch it and pull me and the dead 
snake up to dry ground." He thereupon threw up the 
end of the embroidered hsan, the men caught it, and 
the next minute he appeared with the dead snake in his 
hand. 

The king was very pleased with Gon Han Me for his 
brave act. He gave him great rewards as he had prom- 
ised, and also gave order that in future he should be 
known by the name of "Boh Han Me," or " the officer 
who saw the bear." 

Some time after this there was war between the king 
and the ruler of the next province. There was a great 
council called and it was unanimously agreed that as 
Boh Han Me was the bravest man in the country, he 
should be appointed as commander -in-chief. 

1 Kam, luck, or fate. 



26 FOLK LORE STORIES 

When the message came to his house, however, it 
caused him great distress, for as he told his wife, he did 
not want to be killed in the least ; he did not wish to 
run the risk of being killed or even hurt. Besides he 
had never been on horseback in his life. He had a 
buffalo that ploughed his fields, and it is true that occa- 
sionally, tired with the day's work, he had ridden home 
on its back when the sun sank into the west, but he was 
sure that if he got on the back of a horse it would im- 
mediately divine that he was ignorant of the art of 
riding, did not man as he said, and he would be thrown 
to the ground and hurt, killed maybe. Who could 
tell? 

Again his clever wife came to the rescue. "You 
must go to the fight whether you want to or not, ' ' said 
she. "The king has given orders and he must be 
obeyed. To disobey the king is more dangerous than 
seeing a bear or even fighting a snake, so go you must. 
As to riding, that is easily managed. Bring your pony 
here and I will show you how to ride without danger. ' ' 

On the never-to-be-forgotten day when the whole 
family went into the jungle to gather nau, they were 
very poor, but since the fight with the snake in the well, 
they had become rich, and so now the boh had servants 
to do his bidding, and he therefore called one of them 
to saddle his pony and bring it to the door of his house. 
This was soon done. He took his seat, and then his 
wife took long pieces of rawhide and fastened his legs, 
from ankle to knee, on both sides to the stirrups and 
girths. She knotted them securely so that there would 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 27 

be no chance of his falling off his steed. He was very 
pleased that he had such a clever wife, who could help 
him out of every trouble into which he might fall, and 
rode aAvay well pleased with himself, and soon reached 
the place where the soldiers were assembled awaiting his 
appearance before beginning the march. 

To have seen him nobody would have thought that 
he was frightened sick. He sat up bravely, and you 
would have thought that he was the best horseman in 
all the hill and water country, but all the time he was 
turning over in his mind the advice given by his wife 
when they talked it over the night before. This was 
what she said to him : " Now, when you get to the sol- 
diers, see them start off: Give all the orders in a very 
loud, pompous tone. Talk high, and and they will think 
you mau very much (are very clever). Then you can 
easily find some excuse to get to the rear, and you must 
stay there till the fighting is all finished. ' ' 

There was one party to this arrangement, however, 
that they had both failed to take into account when 
making their plans, and that was the pony. They 
neither remembered that there was a possibility of the 
pony taking it into his head to carry his master where 
the latter did not want to go, but that was just what 
happened, for, when the pony saw all the other horses 
and the men marching off, he too commenced to move 
forward. He was a fine big pony and was accustomed 
to head processions, not to come at the tail end, and so 
he started off of his own accord. Now we have said that 
his rider had never been on horseback before, but had 



28 POLK LORE STORIES 

often ridden his buffalo from the paddy field when the 
clay's work of ploughing was over. When a man on a 
buffalo wishes to stop, he jerks the rope that is fastened 
to the animal's nose, and obedient to the signal, it stops. 
So, when the bo h found his steed forging ahead a little 
faster than suited him, he jerked the reins, expecting 
the pony to stop, but to his consternation, he found it 
go all the faster. He jerked harder, the pony broke 
into a quick trot. He jerked again, the pony began to 
gallop. He was now thoroughly frightened and called 
out at the top of his voice, but this only frightened the 
pony more and it began to gallop just as fast as ever it 
could, and worse than all, it headed straight for the 
enemies' soldiers, whom he could see in the distance get- 
ting ready to receive him. He cursed his wife with all 
his heart. If he could only fall off ! She had taken 
too good precautions against that. He pulled and 
tugged, but the rawhide was strong ; the knots were too 
tight ; and every minute brought him nearer to his en- 
emies. He could hear the shouts of his friends in the 
distance getting fainter and fainter as the distance in- 
creased, calling him to come back. How he wished 
he could ! He swayed from side to side, first on 
one flank then on the other. The pony now had its 
head down between its knees, the bit between its teeth, 
and was tearing along like the wind. It would be hard 
to say which was the more frightened, the horse or its 
rider ; each frightened the other. But there Avas a 
lower depth yet to be reached. In jumping over a hole 
the saddle slipped to the side, the next instant away it 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 29 

went, turned, and saddle, rider, and all slipped clear 
around, and Boh Han Me found himself still securely 
lashed to the saddle, squarely under his horse instead 
of on it. 

Meanwhile in the camp of the enemy a council of war 
was being held. ' ' Can any one tell me, ' ' asked the 
king, " who commands our foes? " 

"Our lord," said one of the amats, "it is a man who 
has been picked out of the whole army, and is the 
bravest man who ever drew a sword. He is called Boh 
Han Me because he conquered a great fierce bear in the 
jungle. He also went down a well in the royal palace 
and killed the largest and fiercest snake ever seen in all 
the hill and water country. ' ' 

The king was much disquieted when he heard of the 
prowess of this man, and was pondering whether it 
would not be better to fight with silver than steel, and 
offer a great reward to any man in the enemies' camp 
who would bring to him the head of this doughty sol- 
dier, when he heard a great shout. He sprang to the 
tent door and looked anxiously out. All eyes were 
bent in one direction and a look of intense wonder, not 
unmixed with fear, sat on each face. The king nat- 
urally expected to see the whole army of the enemy ap- 
proaching in overwhelming numbers, but he shared the 
wonder of his soldiers when he saw, not an army, but 
one single man dashing toward him. The next instant 
the rider disappeared entirely, but the horse came on 
faster than before. Next instant there was the rider 
again, arms tossing in the air, hair streaming behind, 



30 FOLK LORE STORIES 

only to disappear the following moment in the same 
mysterious way. 

The face of the king blanched with terror as he asked 
in a whisper, " Who is this man? " 

A hundred voices cried : "It is Boh Han Me, the 
bravest man alive ! He has some charm that makes 
him invisible whenever he wishes, and he cannot be hurt 
by sword or arrow." 

Nothing spreads so quickly as a panic, and almost 
before the king was aware of it, he was carried away in 
the fierce rush to escape. His men were blind with 
fear ; they threw away their arms ; men and officers fled 
for their lives, their only thought to flee from that horse 
and its terrible rider who disappeared and reappeared 
in such an awful fashion, and in a few minutes the field 
was deserted and the whole army in full retreat. 

The horse by this time was exhausted. It stumbled, 
but regained its feet only to fall again immediately. It 
made another effort to struggle to its feet, but this time 
unsuccessfully, and then lay still on its side, its flanks 
heaving and its breath coming and going in quick sobs. 
Very cautiously Boh Han Me drew a knife and slowly 
cut one knot. The horse did not stir. Another fol- 
lowed, and soon one leg was freed. This made the task 
easier, and soon both legs were cut from their bonds and 
he sprang to his feet, bruised and sore, it is true, but no 
bones broken, and only too glad to be on solid earth 
again, and he vowed he would never from that day 
forth ever get on anything that moved faster than a 
buffalo. 



HOW BOH HAN ME GOT HIS TITLE 31 

What the king said when he reached the place where 
the foes had encamped may be imagined. He declared 
that a man as brave as his general had never lived in 
any age or country. For one man to charge a whole 
army, and, what was more, drive it off too, was a thing 
good to marvel at, and Boh Han Me did the wisest 
thing he ever did in his life, he just held his peace. 
When they had gathered together the spoil they returned 
home with the hero by the side of the king. The latter 
gave him a grand palace with gold, silver, oxen, buf- 
faloes, elephants, and slaves in abundance, and also the 
rank of Boh Hoh Sok, which is the highest rank of gen- 
eral in the army, and means, ' ' head of all the troops. ' ' 
The happy man lived many, many years, but he kept 
his promise, and whenever he wished to travel he rode 
upon an elephant and never again as long as he lived 
got upon the back of a horse. 



THE TWO CHINAMEN. 

AGES ago, when this world was new, having been 
created but a short while, two Chinese boys left 
their native country and started out on their travels to 
discover things new and strange. After wandering for 
many days they came to the hill and water country 
where the Shans live. Here they found a monastery, 
where lived very wise and learned priests, who in- 
structed them in many ways. 

They lived here some time and won the esteem of the 
head priest to such an extent that he showed them a 
magic sword and bow that had lain in the monastery 
many years waiting for somebody to carry away. The 
law was that the man who could bend the bow or could 
draw the sword from its sheath should keep it. 

The elder brother went to the sword and tried to 
draw it. He pulled, he tugged, he strained, till the 
sweat ran down his face, but in vain. He could not 
draw it out one inch. 

Seeing the ill success of his elder brother, the younger 
thought it impossible for him to draw the magic sword, 
but at his brother's command he took the handle in his 
hand and pulled with all his might. To everybody's 
surprise out came the magic sword, and the Chinaman 
walked away in triumph. 

The elder brother now made up his mind that if he 
32 



THE TWO CHINAMEN 33 

could not get the sword lie would try for the bow, and 
he might have more success with that, so he exerted all 
his strength, and slowly, slowly bent it, till the cord 
was taut and the bow all ready to shoot. 

The people of the city were amazed that the two 
brothers should have such strength and good luck, and 
many envious eyes followed them as they again set out 
on their journey, carrying their trophies with them. 

They traveled on and on till they gave up counting 
the distance, it was so great, till one day, as they were 
resting on the banks of a large river in a far country, 
they saw a great fish swimming in the water. It was 
so great that nobody heretofore had been able to catch 
it, and it was in fact the king of all the fishes. It 
broke all the nets and smashed all the traps. It 
snapped all the lines that were set for it, and no- 
body was strong enough to pull it ashore when it did 
take the hook. The Chinamen saw it, and the elder 
brother instantly strung his bow, put on a bolt, and 
shot the great fish as it was swimming in the shallow 
water. In a few minutes he had it on his shoulder, 
and they commenced to cross the bridge to the other 
side of the river. 

Now the river was very wide, the current was very 
swift, and the bridge was not at all strong. It was 
only made of bamboos and rattan and swung from side 
to side as the men crossed it. When they got to the 
middle it began to creak and strain till the two trav- 
elers were in great fear it would break. The one who 

had killed it turned to his brother and said : 

c 



34 FOLK LOEE STOEIES 

" brother, the fish is so heavy I am afraid the 
bridge will break. Please draw your magic sword and 
cut it in halves, and then we will be able to get to the 
other side in safety. " 

The younger brother therefore drew his sword and 
cut the fish in halves ; but he did not yet know how 
sharp the sword was, for he cut the fish in halves, it is 
true, but not only that, but the whole bridge as well, 
so that his brother fell into the water and was imme- 
diately swept from his sight. On his part he could not 
of course cross, now the bridge was down, so he re- 
turned to the same side of the river and ran along the 
bank looking to see whether his brother would be swept 
ashore in some shallow place ; but although he ran till 
he was exhausted and then traveled for many days by 
the side of the river through the jungle, he could dis- 
cover no trace of his lost brother. 

Swiftly down the stream his brother was carried. 
He tried to swim first to one bank and then to the 
other as the current swept him along, but in vain. At 
last he gave up trying. Nobody knows just how long 
he was in the water, but for many days he floated, and 
when he was on the point of dying from exhaustion, 
cold, and hunger, his feet touched bottom, and, more 
dead than alive, he crawled up the bank to dry land. 

He found that he had landed near a garden, and, on 
climbing over the wall, he discovered that it belonged 
to the king. He was too tired to climb back again, 
however, so sank on the ground and the next instant 
fell asleep from sheer weariness. 



THE TWO CHINAMEN 35 

Now it happened that the king of that country had 
just died, and his amats had taken out the royal chariot 
and were drawing it around the city looking for the 
proper person to become king. As they went along 
they saw this young man sleeping in the royal garden 
with his magic bow beside him. He had come from 
nobody knew where. He was so strong that the river 
even could not kill him. Above all, he had a wonder- 
ful magic bow which none of the amats or nobles could 
bend, so they came to the conclusion that he indeed 
was the man who should be king of the country, and 
he was crowned with great pomp and magnificence. 

The other brother had been left standing on the 
bridge when the elder fell into the water, as we have 
said, and for many days he followed the river bank till 
he too arrived in a far country. It was a very strange 
country. There were no men there, only monkeys, but 
they were the very cleverest monkeys that ever lived, 
and were ruled over by a nang me prah, that is, a 
queen, just as men are ruled. This queen of the mon- 
keys fell in love with the Chinaman and married him, 
so that he became king of Monkey Land. They built 
a palace for him on the top of the highest tree-in the 
jungle. Every seventh day they brought him food. 
Some brought plantains, some mangoes, some rice, and 
some fish fresh caught in the river. 

The elder brother had now been king of the country 
Avhere he had landed for some years, and one day he 
remembered his younger brother, whom he had left 
standing on the broken bridge with the sword in his 



36 FOLK LORE STORIES 

hand. He therefore called his amats and told them he 
was going on a long journey, and that they must rule 
well and justly till he returned. He then called his 
favorite servants and set out to discover his brother. 
They had a great store of provisions carried by coolies. 
He had his royal elephants, on which he could ride 
when traveling over the steep mountain roads and to 
carry his chief queens, and ponies for riding over the 
plains. 

One night, however, he became separated from his 
followers and lost his way. He shouted and called, but 
shouted and called in vain. He could not find a trace 
of them. Servants, horses, elephants, and goods were 
all gone, and he was in great fear that he would die in 
the jungle. When morning broke he was much sur- 
prised to see that he had arrived at a city, but that the 
houses were all built on the tops of the trees, and on 
looking closer, he discovered that instead of people 
living in these houses the inhabitants were all large 
monkeys. Not a man was to be seen, and the monkeys 
were very fierce and screamed at him in anger from the 
top of every tree. One especially he noticed as being 
more fierce than any of the others, and he accordingly 
leveled his magic bow and shot it dead. As it fell 
from the tree to the ground he heard all the friends of 
the dead monkey come rushing out of their houses on 
the tops of the trees calling to one another that a man 
had killed one of their brethren, and asking that their 
friends would come to kill the man who had been guilty 
of the deed. 




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THE TWO CHINAMEN 37 

After a little time the king came to a tree that was 
taller than any other in the jungle, and upon it was a 
palace. Stairs led from the door of the palace to the 
ground, and as he looked more closely he saw a man 
up there. In great joy he called out to him, asking to 
be directed. "I am the king of a far country," he 
said, " and I am on a journey to search for my brother, 
whom I have not seen for many, many years. Last 
night I lost my way. Will you take pity on me and 
show me the way and I will give you a great reward ? ' ' 

"Who was your brother?" asked the man in the 
tree. 

"He was a Chinese student," returned the king, 
' ' and he had a wonderful magic sword. One day as 
we were traveling he cut a great fish in two, but such 
was the virtue residing in the magic sword that he not 
only cut the fish in halves but the bridge as well, so I 
left him standing on the end of the bridge." 

You may imagine how pleased the king was when he 
discovered that the man standing at the top of the tree 
was the long-lost brother for whom he was searching, 
and he made ready to ascend to his house in the tree- 
top. 

At that moment a little monkey ran down the tree 
toward him, and he kicked it aside, saying, " Out of 
my way, little monkey." 

The small monkey in great anger said : "I am not a 
monkey, but your nephew. ' ' 

" My nephew ! " exclaimed the king in great aston- 
ishment. ' ' What do you mean by that ? ' ' 



38 FOLK LORE STORIES 

His brother, the monkey king, then explained to 
him that he had married the queen of all the monkeys 
and that this was their child, that he ruled over all the 
monkeys, who had built this palace for him and every 
seventh day brought him tribute of food. 

"I am sorry to say, then," said the elder brother, 
" that I have killed one of your subjects," and at the 
same moment the wife and son of the dead monkey ap- 
proached their king. 

" Our lord," said they, " the man yonder has been 
guilty of a great crime. He entered the domains of our 
lord and although we did nothing to him, yet he raised 
his bow and killed one of the servants of our lord. 
Therefore our lord's servants demand that he shall be 
killed too." 

' ' I am very sorry, ' ' said the king of the monkeys, 
"that you have killed that special monkey. He was 
very clever and brave. He was also one of my chief 
amats, and his friends will assuredly kill you. ' ' 

The monkeys were now assembling by hundreds and 
calling to each other everywhere. Every treetop ap- 
peared alive with angry figures all calling for vengeance 
on the man who had killed their friend. 

The king, however, who had taken sides with his 
brother, was not afraid, and said he could kill all the 
monkeys in the country ; and he drew his sword and 
cut in halves the monkey nearest to him. To his 
great surprise, however, the two halves of the mon- 
key he had killed each, became a whole monkey and 
attacked him again, so that he now had two to fight in- 



THE TWO CHINAMEN 39 

stead of one. If he cut off the hand or leg of a 
monkey with his long sword, it immediately turned 
into two, and he soon saw that unless he devised some 
other way of fighting them they would soon kill them 
both. 

He therefore rushed off to the jungle and got a great 
hollow bamboo. He then went to a bees' nest and 
swept all the bees into it, and caught a great many scor- 
pions and centipedes, snakes and spiders. When the 
monkeys came toward him to renew the fight, he opened 
one end of the bamboo and the insects and reptiles, 
swarming out, very angry at being kept prisoners in the 
hollow bamboo, soon drove the monkeys off so that the 
two brothers were .able to escape. Shortly afterward 
they found the escort of the king and together returned 
to the city where the good elder brother made the 
younger his chief amat. 

Now when the younger brother became amat, he of 
course saw what a great king his brother was. He saw 
his subjects kneel before him ; he saw the royal ele- 
phants, oxen, horses, and buffaloes ; he saw the riches 
in money, jewels, and goods that belonged to him ; that 
his queens were the most beautiful women in the land ; 
and he became jealous. Then he coveted all these 
things. The next step was easy ; he determined to kill 
his brother and become king in his stead. Then he 
began to ponder and plot how best he could destroy the 
brother who had been so good to him. He did not re- 
member how that same brother had left all these things 
to come and hunt for him ; how he had given him 



40 POLK LOEE STORIES 

riches and honor and position, so that now he was chief 
minister and next to him in power. No, he did not 
think of any of these things, but like the ungrateful 
man that he was, thought only that his brother had 
more than he. 

He soon came to the conclusion that he could not 
kill his brother in the city, for everybody loved the 
king, and he feared that his crime would be discovered, 
so he was obliged to wait until they should be alone in 
the jungle together. The opportunity soon came. 
One day the king was out hunting and had gotten 
separated from all his followers. His brother the amat 
was a short distance ahead when he saw, just in front of 
him, a very deep hole, so deep in fact that it was im- 
possible to see the bottom. In great excitement he 
turned and beckoned to the king as fast as he could, 
calling out in a loud voice that he had something very 
wonderful to show him. 

The king thought that at least he had discovered a 
mountain of rubies and came running up. He knelt 
by the side of the hole but could see nothing. 

' ' There is nothing down there, ' ' said he. 

" Let our lord lean a little farther over," said the 
cunning amat. "He will then see the most wonderful 
thing in the world." 

The king bent farther over and his Avicked brother 
gave him a push that sent him headlong to the bottom. 

He had now succeeded in all his plans ; he had 
reached the height of his ambitions, but although he 
became king he was not happy. He had trouble all 



THE TWO CHINAMEN 41 

the time. It is true he had his brother's riches, that he 
rode the royal elephants, wore the royal robes, and 
lived in the royal palace, but he had trouble with his 
amats, with his soldiers, and his people, and therefore 
instead of being happy as he expected he would be, he 
was unhappy and miserable. 

If he had only known what was happening in the 
jungle he would have been more anxious still. His 
brother was not dead as he thought. The fall to the 
bottom of the hole did not kill him and he was only a 
prisoner. His followers had all gone back to the city 
with his wicked brother. He called, but called in vain. 
He heard nothing but the echo of his own cries, and 
he was about to give up in despair, when it happened 
that the mighty Lord Sa Kyah coming through the 
jungle heard his cries and inquired the cause. The 
king did not know that this was the Lord Sa Kyah, but 
told him all that had happened. Lord Sa Kyah was 
very angry with the king's heartless brother and created 
at the bottom of the hole a lily of the kind that has a 
very long stalk. The king sat upon the blossom of the 
lily which then began to grow very rapidly, and as it 
grew carried the king up toward, the mouth of the hole. 

As he gradually rose toward daylight he saw that a 
tree was growing at the very edge of the pit, and that 
some of the branches hung over. He saw also that a 
monkey was busily engaged in feeding on the leaves and 
fruit. The lily, of course, made no noise as it pursued 
its upward path ; the king also kept quiet so as not to 
frighten the monkey, and when he was near enough 



42 FOLK LORE STORIES 

suddenly put forth his hand and caught it by the tail. 
The monkey screamed and kicked, fought and scratched, 
but in vain ; the king held on, and at last the monkey 
climbed down the tree taking the king with him, and 
the latter was speedily standing once more on solid 
ground and able to offer up his thanks to the mighty 
Lord Sa Kyali. 

The king was not long in reaching the city and when 
he arrived, to his great sorrow he saw, as he expected, 
his ungrateful brother reigning, while the people all sor- 
rowed for their old king. He determined to wait 
awhile before he declared himself, feeling that the Lord 
Sa Kyah who had already once helped him when in 
trouble and danger would aid him in regaining his lost 
kingdom ; so he went into the poorest part of the city, 
put on the poorest and most ragged clothes that he 
could find, and sat near the gate of the city begging, 
from whence he often saw his brother riding by in state. 

One day the heralds came riding by and stood in the 
open space fronting the market where the gambling 
booths are, and gave notice that the king had com- 
manded that if anybody could bend the magic bow be- 
longing to the late king, his brother, he was to be 
made the chief amat of the kingdom and receive many 
and great presents besides. 

As may be imagined, the next day there was a great 
crowd gathered together at the great gate of the palace, 
waiting for the king. At last out he came with all his 
ministers and followed by attendants bearing golden 
umbrellas. Behind him came a soldier carrying over 



THE TWO CHINAMEN 43 

his shoulder the magic bow which was placed at the 
king's feet. The king called upon his soldiers to come 
and bend the bow, and the strongest of them came for- 
ward, but although they pulled and tugged, tugged and 
strained, they could not bend it. Then the people of 
the city, or "the king's people," as they loved to call 
themselves in contradistinction to the people who lived 
in the jungle villages, tried, but met with no better suc- 
cess than the soldiers. They could not bend the bow. 
The king then ordered the amat long to call the men 
from the jungle. The very strongest coolies, those who 
carried heavy burdens over the mountains, came in an- 
swer to the king's summons, but although some of them 
could carry fifty soie over the highest mountain they 
could not draw the cord a hand's-breadth. 

The king, much disappoineed, was about to return to 
the palace when a beggar man approached and bowing 
at his feet said he was able to draw the bow and fire an 
arrow from it. The king was angry at what he thought 
was the presumption of this beggar. The soldiers de- 
rided him, saying that the bravest of them could not 
draw the bow and how was a beggar to do it ? The 
coolies also asked him whether he could carry fifty soie 
over Loi Mawk Pali that was called the Cloud Moun- 
tain, because its head was often in the clouds. But the 
beggar asked to be allowed to try and the king gave 
orders that he should be given the bow, at the same 
saying that he assuredly should be made amat long if 
he was successful, but if he could not bend the bow, he 
should be put to death immediately. 



44 FOLK LORE STORIES 

The beggar assented to these terms and seized the 
bow. He took hold of the string and without any 
show of strength pulled it a hand's-breadth, and then 
as the king and his courtiers looked on in amazement he 
pulled it to its full length, placed the string on the 
ivory trigger, put an arrow on it, and asked the king 
where he should shoot. 

"Straight up into the air," said the king. The 
beggar raised the bow, twang went the string, and the 
arrow whizzed out of sight. Everybody stood looking 
up into the sky when suddenly one of the courtiers 
gave a warning cry. It came too late. The arrow had 
gone straight up, turned, and fell almost on the same 
spot from whence it was shot. Almost, but not quite, 
for in its fall it struck the upturned face of the king 
and he fell dead. 

A great cry was raised as the king fell and the 
guards rushed forward to seize the beggar and lead him 
to immediate execution, but he waved them off with a 
gesture of his hand. The next instant his rags fell 
from him and he stood before them in the royal robes 
of a king. 

Thus we see that the younger brother, although in- 
deed he had not murdered his brother the king, yet did 
kill him in his thoughts and intentions, and he suffered 
the punishment that is always meted out to the man 
who kills his fellow. 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM TJNG 

THERE was once a king who reigned over one of 
the largest States in the hill and water country. 
For a long time there had been war between him and 
the sau hpa of the neighboring State, but at last his 
soldiers had been successful, and his enemy had been 
driven out of his possessions, which had thereupon been 
added to his own. A great feast had been given when 
his soldiers returned to their homes, and he was now 
sitting with his queens and his seven daughters in the 
palace watching a performance given in honor of the 
victory. He praised the actors for their skill, and then 
asked his daughters whether they had enjoyed the per- 
formance. They one and all assured him that they 
had enjoyed it much, and then turning to them he 
continued : 

"That is right, my daughters, enjoy yourselves to- 
day and to-morrow and all through your lives. You 
are the daughters of a mighty king, and it is your lot 
to be happy and enjoy yourselves all your lives, there- 
fore again I say enjoy yourselves and be happy." 

The eldest of the daughters, who was a perfect cour- 
tier said : " our lord, our luck is fortunate, because 
it depends on that of the lord our father, and who is so 
fortunate as he ? " 

The king was very pleased with the flattery of his 



46 FOLK LOBE STORIES 

daughter, and promised to grant any request she would 
make of him. 

The youngest daughter, however, was young and 
foolish, and had not yet learned the truth that in a 
king's presence it is not well always to say what one 
thinks, and therefore she said to her sister: "Your 
luck may depend on the luck of the lord our father, 
but mine is my own and depends upon myself alone. ' ' 

When the king heard this he was very angry that 
one of his daughters, and she the youngest too, should 
have the presumption to say that she depended for any- 
thing at all on any other tlr^. he, and he determined 
to punish her. 

For a long time he pondered on the best way to do 
this and at last devised a plan which, if severe, was at 
least novel. 

He called his amats to go throughout the whole land 
and search for the poorest man in all his kingdom, and 
when they had found him they were to bring him to 
the palace and he would marry his youngest daughter 
to him, and then, said he, "We will see about luck 
after that." 

Day after day the heralds searched the land but they 
could not find a man poor enough to suit the king. 
All who were brought before him acknowledged that 
they had something valuable, either a little money, a 
precious stone, or a distant relative who was rich and 
from whom they could borrow a little if necessary. A 
man of this description would not suit the angry king. 
He wanted one poorer than that. 



STOEY OF THE PRINCESS N.ANG- KAM UNG 47 

At last the amat long, or chief minister, brought a 
man before him and said that he was the poorest in all 
the land. His name was Ai Du Ka Ta. He was a 
woodseller in the bazaar, who every day went into the 
jungle and picked up the dead branches of the trees 
that had fallen to the ground, and brought them to the 
market every fifth day to sell. So poor was he that he 
did not even own the sword that is the almost insep- 
arable companion of the Shan and is used, among other 
things, to cut down the small trees that are left to dry 
for firewood, so he had to be content to pick up the 
small branches that he found under the trees, and got 
a proportionately small price when he carried his load 
into the bazaar. 

When he appeared before the king, his trousers were 
all fringed at the bottom where they had been torn by 
the thorns in the jungle. His turban months before 
had been white, but now it was a deep gray ; it was only 
half its original length and was full of holes. Jacket 
he had none, and when the king asked him how many 
blankets he had upon his bed at home to keep him 
warm at night when the cold wind brought the rain up 
the valley, he answered sorrowfully, "Not one, our 
lord." He had no relative except an old mother whom 
he was obliged to support, and who was known through- 
out the district in which she lived as the woman with 
the bitterest tongue in all the land, and when too sick 
to move from her mat, she would yet fill the air with 
poisoned words. 

The king was very pleased with his amat long for 



48 FOLK LOBE STORIES 

finding Ai Du Ka Ta, and gave him a very fine horse 
as a reward. Then he called his daughter, took away 
all her fine clothes and married her to this poorest man 
in his realm and drove her out of the palace amid the 
jeers and taunts of the very people who, before her dis- 
grace, had waited upon her every word and had done 
her bidding while they trembled before her. The king 
also took away her old name and commanded that in 
future she was to be known as Nang Kam Ung, which 
means, " The woman whose luck depends upon herself. " 

The house, or rather hut, to which Ai Du Ka Ta 
took his bride was in the jungle. It was only four 
bamboo poles stuck in the ground and covered with 
dried grass and bushes. Not even a sleeping mat was 
on the ground there was no floor and the chattie in 
which he cooked his rice had a hole in it, and had to 
be set upon three stones sideways over the fire with the 
hole uppermost, to prevent the water leaking and put- 
ting out the fire. 

Fortunately the girl's mother had helped her to 
smuggle out her "birth -stone," which was a large, 
valuable ruby, and so she took it off her finger and 
gave it to her husband, telling him to go and sell it 
and buy clothes and food for both of them. 

Ai looked at the stone and said, ' ' Who will give me 
food and clothes for a little red stone like that ? We 
have no fools or mad men living near here who would 
do such a foolish thing as that," for you must remem- 
ber he had lived in the jungle all his life, and had never 
heard of precious stones, much less seen one till now. 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS JSTANG- EAM UNG 49 

His friends were just as ignorant of its value as he was. 
He went from house to house in the little village near, 
but all laughed at him till he became disgusted, threw 
the stone away in the jungle and came home in a very 
ill humor with his wife for leading him such a wild- 
goose chase, and making him appear foolish in the eyes 
of the few people he knew. 

His wife was in great distress when she found that he 
had thrown the ruby away, and told her husband that 
if he had gone to the city and taken it to the jewelers, 
instead of to the ignorant people in the jungle, they 
would have given him in return enough money to keep 
them in food and clothing all the hot season and build 
a new house into the bargain. 

Ai looked at her and said : "Indeed, that is a thing 
good to marvel at. Why, I know where there are 
coolie-basket loads of such red stones in the dry bed of 
a river near where I gather sticks for fire-wood in the 
jungle, waiting for anybody to carry away, and I never 
thought them worth the labor of taking to the bazaar. ' ' 

The princess was full of joy when she heard this, and 
the next morning they borrowed two coolie baskets from 
a man in the village. Bright and early they went to 
the river bed, and there, even as Ai had said, were 
basket loads of fine rubies. They gathered them up 
carefully and buried most of them, covering over the 
hole with a flat stone, so that no one would discover 
their hoard, and then the princess, picking out a double 
handful of the largest and clearest ones, sent them to 
her father. 

D 



50 POLK LORE STORIES 

The king, when he saw the jewels, instead of being 
pleased, fell into a great passion, called the unfortunate 
amat long into his presence, and after rating him 
soundly, deprived him of all his goods, houses, and 
lands, deposed him from office, and drove him from his 
presence as poor as Ai himself had been. 

" I ordered you to call a poor man," roared the king 
to the trembling man before him. ' ( I said he was to 
have no goods or property at all, and here the very 
next day he sends me a double handful of the very best 
rubies I ever saw in my life." 

In vain the culprit assured the king that the day be- 
fore Ai was certainly the poorest man in the whole 
kingdom, and complained that the jewels must have 
been the work of some hpea, whom he had unwittingly 
offended, and who had therefore determined on his ruin 
in revenge. The king would listen to no excuse, and 
the unhappy amat was glad to crawl from his presence 
before resentment had carried him to the length of or- 
dering his execution. 

The very next night a wonderful golden deer entered 
the royal garden where the king was accustomed to sit 
when it became too warm in the palace, and after doing 
an immense amount of mischief, eating favorite flowers, 
and otherwise destroying and ruining the garden, it 
leaped over the fence and disappeared in the eaiiy 
morning fog, just as the guards were arousing them- 
selves from sleep. It was in truth not a golden deer as 
the guards had told the king, but a hpea that had as- 
sumed this form ; but the king not knowing this ordered 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG- 51 

his heralds to go through the city immediately and call 
upon all the inhabitants to come early next morning to 
help their lord catch it. Ai was summoned with the 
rest of the people. He had no horse, but going to the 
city gate that day he saw that a race between horses 
belonging to the king was about to be run. Ai was a 
good horseman, and asked the head horse-feeder of the 
king to let him ride one of the animals. He rode, and 
rode so well that he won the race, and that official was 
so pleased with him that he promised to grant him any 
request in his power. Ai asked for the privilege of 
riding the same horse at the hunt next day, and the re- 
quest was readily granted, and thus it happened that, 
next morning when he went to the place appointed, he 
rode a horse that was faster than any other there ex- 
cept the one the king himself rode. 

The people were divided into four parties ; one toward 
the north, one toward the south, one east, and one 
west. The king stationed himself with the party at 
south, and the amats were at the north, and when the 
deer was at last driven out of the jungle by the beaters 
it headed toward the king and dashed by him at great 
speed. 

The hpea that had taken the form of the deer wished 
to have some fun at the king's expense, and therefore 
kept ahead just where the king could see him all the 
while, sometimes but a cubit or two away from him; 
and then when the country was open, darting far in 
advance. So swiftly did they go that in a few minutes 
the men on foot Avere left behind, and after a while all 



52 FOLK LOBE STORIES 

except those upon the very fastest horses were dis- 
tanced, till at last only the king and Ai were left, the 
latter but a little behind the king. All day long the 
chase continued till, just as the sun was setting and 
men and horses were both exhausted, the deer made 
straight for a precipice that appeared to block the path 
on each hand as far as the eye could reach. The king 
was congratulating himself that the deer could not pos- 
sibly escape now, when he saw right before him an 
opening in the rock, and the next instant the hpea dis- 
appeared in the cave and the king was obliged to give 
up the chase, for even if his horse could have carried 
him any farther, which it could not, the cave was so 
dark that nothing could be seen inside. 

The king fell from his horse almost dead with fatigue, 
and managed to crawl under a wide-spreading banyan 
tree that grew near. The only other person there was 
Ai, and he, coming to the king, massaged his limbs till 
the tired monarch fell asleep. After a while he awoke 
and Ai asked him to eat some rice he had prepared, 
but the king said he was too tired to eat anything ; but 
at last he managed to eat a little sweet, glutinous rice 
that the princess had cooked in a hollow piece of bam- 
boo and given to her husband before he set out that 
morning. 

The king was very grateful and asked Ai his name ; 
but the latter was afraid to tell what his real name was, 
so, as his mother years before had been in the habit of 
selling betel-nut in the bazaar, he told the king that 
his name was Sau Boo, or betel-nut seller. 



STORY OF THE PEINCESS NANG KAM UJSfG 53 

The king was very pleased with him and promised 
him great rewards when they got back to the palace ; 
but in a few minutes he had dropped asleep again, and 
Ai sat alone keeping guard. 

It was very fortunate that he too did not go to sleep, 
for as every one knows, the banyan is a sacred tree, 
and this one was inhabited by a hpea who was noted 
for being one of the cruelest and most dreaded spirits in 
all the land. Ai roused the king and told him there 
was a hpea in the tree and begged him not to sleep 
there for it would assuredly kill them both before morn- 
ing. 

The king said, "Wake me not, trouble me not. 
From my head to my feet, I am nothing but aches and 
pains. Were I to move I should die. I may as well 
die at the hands of the hpea." So saying he fell asleep 
again, and Ai did not dare to disturb him, but watched 
all night long. 

During the night Ai heard the hpea grumbling to 
himself several times and promising himself the pleasure 
of killing them on the morrow, so he pretended to be 
asleep so that he could hear what the hpea said and if 
possible thwart him. 

" These mortals have presumed to sleep under my 
tree," he heard him say, " but it shall be the last time 
they sleep anywhere. Let me see," he continued, 
" how shall I kill them ? Which will be the best way ? 
Ah, I know. Early to-morrow when they get ready to 
leave, I will break the tree in two, and the top shall 
fall on them. If, however, they escape, I will saw 



54 FOLK LORE STORIES 

through the supports of the first bridge, so that it will 
break when they are in the middle, and they will fall 
to the bottom of the valley below. Then if that should 
fail, I will loosen the stones of the arch of the city gate 
so that it will fall on them as they pass underneath, 
and if that does not kill them, when the king arrives at 
his palace, and being thirsty with his long ride calls for 
water, I will change the water in the goblet to sharp 
needles that will stick in his throat and kill him. If 
he does not drink the water, however, he will assuredly 
be very tired and will go to sleep immediately, and I 
will send an immense rat into his room that will kill 
him without doubt." 

Having finished making his plans, the hpea left the 
tree and started the work of preparing the different 
traps for the mortals who had enraged his hpeaship by 
daring to sleep under the tree, and thus profane his 
home. 

The king was frightened half to death when he awoke 
next morning, and found that he had been sleeping all 
night under the tree of that special hpea; but Ai, or 
San Boo as the king called him, told him not to be 
frightened for he could save his life if the king would 
only follow his advice and do as he told him. 

The king promised to follow his words implicitly, and 
also promised him unheard-of rewards if he only helped 
him to get to his palace in safety. 

The first danger was the tree, and so Ai got their 
horses ready and under the pretense of allowing them 
to eat grass before setting out on their journey, he 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG 55 

gradually worked them nearer and still nearer the 
edge of the tree, and then, with one bound, they, both 
galloped out from under it. At the same instant there 
was a great crash and the whole top of the tree fell to 
the ground. So near did it fall on them that the king's 
turban was torn from his head by one of the upper 
branches, but beyond this no harm was done. 

Next, instead of riding over the bridge, they went 
along the bank a little distance, and soon found a place 
where the link was narrow and leaped their horses to 
the other side. While they were jumping, Ai threw a 
heavy stone he had brought with him on to the bridge, 
and the hpea, who fortunately was near-sighted, think- 
ing it was the tread of the horses, broke it down, so 
that fell into the water fifty feet below, but the king 
and his follower were safe on the other side. 

The next danger was the city gate. They walked 
their ponies slowly as though they were very tired, till 
they came to within a cubit of the gate, and then gal- 
loped through at the top of their speed, and crash went 
the gateway behind them. They were covered with 
dust but not hurt. 

The king was very thankful to have arrived at his 
palace and being very thirsty with the journey and ex- 
citement, as the cunning hpea had expected, called for 
a drink of water, but ere he could place the cup to his 
lips his faithful follower turned it upside down, and 
instead of water, out fell a cupful of sharp needles, and 
again the king's life was saved. 

Worn out with his ride he told his servants to pre- 



56 FOLK LOKE STOKIES 

pare his room as he would sleep. Ai called the chief 
guard and told him to have a lamp burning all night, 
to take his sharpest sword with him, and guard the 
king carefully. In the middle of the night when the 
tired king was sleeping soundly, into the room came 
creeping slowly, slowly, the biggest rat ever seen. It 
had long, sharp teeth and wicked glaring eyes, and made 
toward the king. But the guard, warned by Ai, was 
on the watch, and just as the rat was about to spring 
at the king's throat, the soldier with a sweep of his 
long, sharp sword cut off its head, and thus the king 
through the cleverness of one man escaped the last 
danger and could now live without fear. 

The next morning the king called his heralds and 
bade them go into the city and summon Sau Boo to 
come to the palace to be rewarded. They searched 
and called, but searched and called in vain. No man 
ever heard of a man by that name, and the king was 
fast getting angry when the amats told him that they 
personally had gone to every house except one, and 
that was the house of Ai. The king in surprise ordered 
them to call his son-in-law. " He may be able to tell 
us something about him," he observed. Ai accordingly 
obeyed his summons, but the king was more surprised 
yet when Ai told him that Sau Boo and himself were 
one and the same, and that it was he who had rescued 
the king from so many dangers. 

At first his father-in-law became angry and refused 
to believe him, but Ai gave an account of every- 
thing that had happened from the time when the deer 



STORY OF THE PRINCESS NANG KAM UNG 57 

broke cover, till the rat was killed by the guard, and 
thus convinced the king of his truthfulness. 

The king then made a great feast, called all his min-* 
isters and generals together, and made a proclamation 
that Ai in future should be his amat long and should 
be king when he himself died. 

Thus did the princess prove that her luck really de- 
pended upon herself, and not on the king, and to-day 
we say, "May your luck be as good as the luck of 
Nang Kam Ung." 



HOW THE HARE DECEIVED THE TIGER. 

AT the beginning of the world a hare, tiger, ox, 
buffalo, and horse became friends and lived to- 
gether. One day the tiger was out hunting when, it 
being in the middle of the hot season, the jungle caught 
fire, and a strong wind blowing, it was not long before 
the whole country was in flames. The tiger fled, but 
the fire followed. Never mind how fast he ran, the 
flames followed him, till he was in great fear of being 
burned alive. As he was rushing along he saw the ox 
feeding on the other side of the river and called out 
to him : 

" friend ox, you see the fire is following me wher- 
ever I go. Where is a place of refuge that I can escape 
the fire?" 

Now close to the tiger was a jungle full of dried 
grass, such as the Shans use for thatching their houses, 
and the ox replied, " Go to the grass jungle yonder, my 
brother, and you will be safe." 

But dried grass is the most inflammable thing in the 
whole hill and water country, and so here, not only did 
the flames follow the tiger, but they ran ahead of him 
and threatened to engulf him on every side. In great 
anger he roared at the ox, " False deceiver, if ever I 
escape from this danger, I will return and kill you," 
but the ox only laughed at him and continued eating. 
58 



HOW THE HAKE DECEIVED THE TIGER 59 

In desperation, the tiger leaped over the flames and 
found himself near the horse. " friend horse," he 
cried, ' ' where can I go ? I am in great danger of be- 
ing burned to death." 

Now it happened that once the tiger had been very 
rude to the horse and called him many bad names, so 
now he thought this was a good opportunity to be re- 
venged ; so he said: " Yonder is a big bamboo jungle, 
run to that and you are safe " ; but the tiger found that 
the horse was also a false friend, for the fire following 
him speedily ignited the tall bamboos which burned 
fiercely and falling from above, almost completely cov- 
ered the poor beast. 

At the beginning of the world the tiger was a beauti- 
ful yellow color, but the bamboos falling all over him, 
burnt him in stripes, and since that time his descend- 
ants have had long black stripes all over their coats. 

" When I have escaped from this," yelled the angry 
tiger, " I will come back and kill you." 

"Very good," sneered the horse, "and I will arch 
my neck so that you can get a good bite," but this was 
said to deceive the tiger, as the horse intended to lash 
out with his hind feet when the tiger came to fight him. 
Nevertheless, from that day the necks of all horses have 
been arched, and they cannot fight an enemy in front, 
but are obliged to arch their necks, lower their heads, 
and kick from behind. 

The tiger, by this time tired to death and suffering 
from the burns of the bamboos, saw. the buffalo and 
accosted him as he had his other friends. : 



60 FOLK LORE STOEIES 

" good friend buffalo," he cried, "I am in great 
danger of being burned alive. The horse and the ox 
have not only deceived me, but in following their advice 
I have arrived at a worse condition than before. What 
can I do to be freed from this great danger ? ' ' 

The buffalo looked up from the cool river where he 
was enjoying a bath, and taking compassion on him 
said: " If you will catch hold of my throat I will duck 
you in the river and so you shall escape from the 
danger that is following you." 

So the tiger seized the good buffalo by the throat and 
Avas held under water till the fire had burnt itself out. 
The tiger was very grateful to the buffalo and made an 
agreement with him that from that time no tiger should 
ever kill a buffalo, and it is only the very worst tigers, 
those that kill men, that ever kill a buffalo, and the 
tigers that are guilty of killing buffaloes are sure to be 
killed themselves, sooner or later. 

The tiger held so fast to the buffalo that when the 
latter came out of the water, his throat and neck were 
all white, and buffaloes all have that mark on their 
necks and throats till this very day. 

The tiger was so cold after his bath that he shook and 
shivered as though he had fever, and seeing a little 
house made of dried grass a short distance off he went 
to it and found that a hare was living there. 

" Good friend," said the tiger, " I am so cold I am 
afraid I shall die. Will you take compassion on me 
and allow me to rest in your house and get warm be- 
fore I return home ? ' ' 



HOW THE HAKE DECEIVED THE TIGER 61 

" Come iu, our lord," said the hare. " If our lord 
deigns to honor my poor house with his presence, he 
will confer a favor that his slave will never forget." 

The tiger was only too glad to go into the hare's 
house, and the latter immediately made room for him 
by sitting on the roof. Soon the tiger heard click ! 
click ! click ! and he called out : " friend hare, what 
are you doing up there on the roof of your house ? " 

Now the hare was really at that moment striking fire 
with her flint and steel, but she deceived the tiger and 
said, " It is very cold up here, and our lord's slave was 
shivering," but the next moment the spark struck the 
dried grass on the roof and the house was soon iu 
flames. 

The tiger dashed out just in time and turned in a 
rage on his late host, but the hare was far away, hav- 
ing jumped at the same moment that the spark set fire 
to the roof of the house. 

The tiger gave chase, but after a while he saw the 
hare sitting down and watching something intently, so 
he asked, " What are you looking at? " 

" This is a fine seat belonging to the Ruler of the 
Hares," returned she. 

" I would like to sit on it," said the tiger. 

" "Well," said the hare, " wait till I can go and ask 
our lord to give you permission." 

" All right, I will watch till you come back and will 
not kill you as I intended doing, if you get me permis- 
sion to sit on it," said the tiger. 

Now this was not a chair at all, but some hard sharp 



62 FOLK LORE STORIES 

stones that the hare had covered with mud and shaped 
with her paws to deceive the tiger. The hare ran off a 
long distance and pretended to talk with some one and 
then called out : ' ' The lord of the chair says, our lord 
the tiger may sit, if he throws himself down upon it 
with all his might. This is our custom." 

The tiger flung himself upon what he thought was the 
chair with all his might, but the soft mud gave way 
and he fell upon the stones underneath and hurt his 
paws badly. He therefore sprang up and vowed ven- 
geance on the hare that he could just see far off in the 
distance. 

By and by as the hare was running along she saw a 
large wasps' nest hanging from the branch of a tree, so 
she sat down and watched it intently. When the tiger 
came up he was so curious to know what the hare was 
looking at so intently that he did not kill her, but in- 
stead asked her what she was looking at. 

The hare showed the tiger the wasps' nest on the tree 
and said: "That is the finest gong in all the hill and 
water country." 

" I would like to beat it," said the tiger. 

"Just wait a minute," returned the hare, "and I 
will go to the lord of the gong and ask permission for 
you to beat it." 

The hare ran till she was far away in the jungle, and 
then at the top of her voice called out : " If you wish to 
beat the gong, the lord of the gong says you must strike 
it as hard as you can with your head. That is his 
custom." 



HOW THE HARE DECEIVED THE TIGER 63 

The tiger butted at the nest with all his might and 
made a big jagged rent in its side, and out flew the 
angry wasps in swarms, completely covering the poor 
tiger, who with a dreadful yell of pain tore aAvay from 
his tormentors. His face was all swollen, and from that 
day till the present, the faces of tigers have all been 
wide and flat. 

Again he chased the hare, and when the smart from 
the stings of the wasps had subsided a little, he found 
to his great joy that he was gaining on his enemy fast. 
The hare on her part saw that the tiger would soon 
catch her and looked around for some means of escape, 
and spied just before her a snake half in and half out 
of its hole. 

The hare stopped as before and sat gazing at the 
snake so intently that the tiger instead of killing her as 
he had intended to do, asked her what it was in the 
hole. 

"This," returned the hare, "is a wonderful flute 
that only kings and nobles are allowed to play. Would 
our lord like to play ? " 

" Indeed I would," said the tiger; "but where is the 
lord of this wonderful flute? Whom shall I ask for 
permission ? " 

"If our lord watches right here," said the cunning 
hare, "his slave will go to the lord of the flute and 
ask permission," and the tiger, well content, sat down 
to wait. 

Again the cunning hare deceived the tiger by pre- 
tending to ask permission, and when a long distance 



64 FOLK LORE STORIES 

off he called as before: "Our lord has permission to 
play the flute. Let him put it in his mouth and blow 
Avith all his might. This is the custom of the lord 
of the flute." 

The foolish tiger immediately took the snake's head 
into his mouth, but the sound that followed came from 
the tiger, not from the flute, and a terrible yell he gave 
as the snake bit his mouth ! But the hare was far 
away and would soon have been safe but for an unlocked 
for accident that nearly ended her life. 

The people who lived in that part of the hill and 
water country were at war with the State that joined 
them on the north, and thinking that the soldiers of the 
enemy would soon invade their country they had made 
a trap in the middle of the path over which the hare 
was running. First they dug a hole so deep that 
should anybody fall in, it would be impossible to climb 
out again. The sides of the pit were dug on the slant 
so that the opening was smaller than the bottom. Over 
the top they had placed thin strips of bamboo that would 
break if any extra weight came upon them and they 
had covered the whole with grass and leaves so that no 
traveler would know that a trap was there. Into this 
hole fell the poor little hare. 

Presently the tiger came up to see where the hare had 
gone, and when he saw the hole in the middle of the 
path, he called out, "Where are you, friend hare?" 
and the hare from, the bottom of the trap called out, 
"I have fallen into a trap. " 

Then the tiger sat on the ground and just bent double 



HOW THE HAKE DECEIVED THE TIGEE 65 

with laughter to think that at last he had the hare in 
his power, but the little animal clown in the hole 
although she did not say anything, thought harder in 
a few minutes than the tiger had in all his life. By and 
by as she looked up through the hole she had made in 
the roof, she saw that the sky overhead was getting 
darker and darker as a storm was coming on, so in great 
glee, although she pretended to be very much fright- 
ened, she called out as loudly as ever she could : 

" Our lord tiger ! our lord tiger ! " 

At first the tiger did not answer, so the hare then 
called, " Does not our lord see the great danger ap- 
proaching ? Let our lord look at the sky." 

The tiger looked up and saw the dark clouds coming 
slowly, slowly on, covering the whole sky ; his laughter 
stopped and he soon began to get very frightened. 

After a while, when it had become still darker, he 
called to the hare: "0 friend, what is the matter with 
the sky ? What is going to happen ? ' ' 

Then the hare replied: " Our lord, the sky has fallen 
where you see it is dark ; that is far away, but in a few 
minutes it will fall here and everybody will be crushed 
to death." 

The foolish tiger was now frightened half to death 
and called to the hare: " friend, I have treated you 
badly in trying to kill you. Do not be angry and take 
revenge on me, but take compassion on my terrible con- 
dition, and graciously tell me how to escape this danger, 
and I swear that I will never try to harm you more." 

It was the hare's turn to laugh now, but she only 

E 



66 FOLK LORE STORIES 

laughed quietly to herself, for she was afraid the tiger 
would hear her, then she said, " Down here our lord's 
slave is quite safe. If our lord descends, he too will be 
safe," and before the hare had hardly finished, the 
cowardly tiger 'made a jump for the hole the hare had 
made and joined her at the bottom of the trap. 

But the hare was not out yet and she began to plan 
how she could get out herself aud yet keep the tiger in. 
At last a happy thought struck her. She sidled up to 
the tiger and began to tickle him in the ribs. The tiger 
squirmed and twisted first one way and then the other, 
first to one side and then to the other ; at last he could 
stand it no longer and catching the hare he threw her 
out of the trap and she landed on solid ground. 

As soon as the hare found she was safe, she began to 
call at the top of her voice: " men, come ! come ! I, 
the hare have deceived the tiger and he is at the bottom 
of the trap. men, come ! I, the hare call you. 
Bring your spears and guns ; bring your swords, and 
kill the tiger that I have tricked into entering the trap. ' ' 

At first the men did not believe the hare, for they did 
not think that an animal so small as the hare could de- 
ceive the tiger, but then they also knew that the hare 
was very clever and had much wisdom, so they brought 
their spears and their guns, their swords and their 
sticks, and killed the tiger in the trap. 

Thus did the- hare prove that though small she was 
full of wisdom, and although the tiger was bigger, 
stronger, and fiercer than she, yet she, through her 
wisdom, was able to kill him. 



THE STORY OF THE TORTOISE. 

THERE was once a man who had two wives. Now 
as everybody knows it is always the chief wife that 
the husband loves best, while the other instead of being 
Mae Long, is only Mae Noi, and this often causes jeal- 
ousy and trouble in the family. It was so in this case, 
especially as the chief wife did not have a son to add 
to her dignity. They each had a daughter, the name 
of the chief wife's child was Nang Hsen Gaw, and that 
of the other Nang E. 

One day the husband of these women went to the 
lake to fish. He caught a large number of shell fish 
and put them on the shore for his wives to bring home. 
The younger took her share of the load, but, being very 
hungry, she ate them all. The mother of Nang Hsen 
Gaw, however, was not greedy like the other woman, 
and so she put all the fish that were left into her bag 
and began to trudge slowly toward the house. 

Now, the mother of Nang E was a witch, although 
no one, of course, knew it. Being wicked enough to be 
a witch, she did not hesitate at committing any other 
crime, even the most dreadful, and she therefore made 
up her mind that she would kill the mother of Nang 
Hsen Gaw so that she could be the chief wife. She got 
home much sooner than the other woman, as she had no 
load to carry, and when she saw her husband he natu- 

67 



68 FOLK LOEE STOKIES 

rally asked her where the fish were. "Now," she 
thought, " here's a good chance to get that woman out 
of the way, ' ' so she told her husband that his other wife 
was a por, or witch, and she had taken all the fish away 
from her. Now, witches are of course very much 
dreaded, so when the poor woman came home with her 
heavy load of fish, the villagers killed her with their 
sticks, and she was changed into a tortoise in the lake. 

And now at last the mother of Nang E was chief 
wife, but do you think she \vas satisfied? Not a bit 
of it. She heard that her rival was now a tortoise in 
the lake, and she determined to kill her again. 

Some time after this, as Nang Hsen Gaw was in the 
jungle watching the cows that belonged to her father, 
she walked along the edge of the lake and was very 
much surprised to hear her own name called in familiar 
tones. She looked around, but could see no one, and 
she was getting very frightened, thinking that it was 
perhaps a hpea who wanted to entice her into the thick 
jungle so that he could devour her, but at last she 
looked on the ground at her feet and saw it was a tor- 
toise that was speaking to her. 

" Nang Hsen Gaw," it called. " My daughter, oie I 
I am your mother who was killed through the wicked 
acts of my rival, the mother of Nang E. I have arrived 
at great trouble, and now, instead of being the chief 
wife of a rich man, I am nothing but a tortoise swim- 
ming in the lake. Take pity on me, my daughter, and 
out of compassion every day bring me cotton thread and 
raw cotton, so that I can weave and spin." 



THE STOEY OF THE TORTOISE 69 

Nang Hsen Gaw was a dutiful daughter, and every 
day when she went to the jungle she took cotton for her 
mother to spin, and thread for her to weave, and daily 
talked with her, telling her all the gossip of the village 
and anything else that she thought her- mother would 
like to hear. 

But the mother of Nang E was on the watch, and 
thinking it strange that the girl should take cotton and 
thread to the jungle every day, and bring none back 
with her when she drove the cattle back at night, she 
followed her, heard her talking with her mother, and 
thus found out in what part of the lake her enemy was, 
and laid her plan accordingly. 

That evening, unknown to her family, while her 
husband was busy working in his garden, she went to 
the house where lived the doctor of the village, unfolded 
her plans to him and asked for his help. Being an un- 
scrupulous man he agreed, took the silver the woman 
had pilfered from her husband, and promised to help 
her. The next day she was taken very sick and her 
husband called in the doctor, who told him that the 
woman must have a tortoise from the lake near-by. If 
she boiled and ate it according to his directions she 
would get well, if not, she would die. Having per- 
formed his part of the bargain he returned to his home 
' at the other end of the village. 

Next morning the man went to the lake to get the 
tortoise. Nang Hsen Gaw was much distressed when 
she saw her father set out, and her distress became 
worse when she saw that the wicked stepmother had 



70 FOLK LORE STORIES 

directed him to the little pond where her own mother 
was. The man took a large bucket made out of wicker 
work, and commenced baling out the water, but Naug 
Hseri Gaw was able to warn her mother just where her 
father was, so- that when he was on one side of the 
pond her mother went to the other, but at last he sent 
the girl home,' and in a few minutes secured the tortoise 
and was soon carrying it away for his wife to eat. 

When he got home he gave her the tortoise, little 
thinking who it was, and then went out, while the 
witch called Nang Hsen Gaw to watch the pot which 
had been put over the fire. 

Soon the poor girl heard her mother call out. She 
said that the hot water had reached her knees, and 
begged her to put out the fire. She commenced to rake 
out the hot embers from under the pot, when her step- 
mother saw what she was doing, and taking up a heavy 
bamboo beat her unmercifully and made her put more 
sticks on the fire. Soon her mother complained again that 
the heat had reached her shoulders, and again Naug 
E's mother beat her, and made her put more sticks on 
the fire. Soon she heard her mother say: "My 
daughter, oie! The hot water has reached my neck 
.and I shall soon be dead. When it is all over, do not 
let that wicked woman destroy me altogether, but bury 
me in the jungle, " and in a few minutes she was dead. 

Nang Hsen Gaw tried her best to get the dead body 
of her mother, but her stepmother watched her care- 
fully, and all she could not eat herself she gave to the 
dogs, to prevent her daughter from getting any, but 



THE STORY OF THE TORTOISE 71 

one dog ran off with his portion into the jungle. Nang 
Hsen Gaw followed in time to rescue the webbing 
between the fingers. 1 This was all that was left, but 
she buried that carefully in the jungle far from the 
house where her stepmother lived. 

The next clay as she was walking through the jungle 
feeding her cows, she heard sweet music. It sounded like 
twelve organs all playing at the same time, and yet in 
harmony, each organ blending with the others. In great 
surprise she hunted around till she came to the spot 
where she had buried the part of her mother's hand, 
and saw that during the night this had changed into a 
beautiful mai nyung kham tree. 2 And so this good and 
dutiful daughter went every day to listen to the tree as 
she had gone daily to the lake when her mother had 
been a tortoise, and the tree sang sweeter when she was 
near than at any other time. 

But such a wonderful thing as this could not be kept 
a secret. Others heard of it and people came from far 
and near to hear the sweet music come from the tree. 
One of the amats of the great king who ' ' ate ' ' s the 
country, heard that a miracle was to be seen in this 
jungle, and accordingly reported it to his lord, who sent 
men to cut the tree down and bring it to his palace. All 
day long the men worked at the tree, from the time the 

1 The Shans call the two front feet of a quadruped "hands." 
The digits are called " fingers " not " toes." 

2 The sacred peepul tree. 

3 The Shans do not usually say that a king "rules" over a 
country, but the expression generally used is that he " eats" it; 
a very suggestive and alas ! too often only too true expression. 



72 FOLK LORE STORIES 

country became light till the moon rose at night, but 
although they had the sharpest of axes and were the 
most skillful workmen in all the country, yet with all 
their labor they could only cut through the bark, and 
during the night the tree grew so quickly that when 
the morning dawned, it was twice as large as it was the 
night before, and the marks made by the axes on the 
bark were covered with new bark harder than ever. 

The king was very angry when he heard of the ill 
success of his woodmen, had them all executed, and 
sent others, but they had no better success than the 
first. But this only made the king more stubborn and 
determined to get the tree at any cost, and he therefore 
sent the heralds all through the country and made a 
proclamation that any man who could bring the tree to 
his palace should be made his Kern Mong, that is, heir 
apparent ; should it be a woman, she should become 
Nang Me Prah, or chief queen. Many men therefore 
came with sharp pahs and axes but all were equally un- 
successful, and the king despaired of ever getting the 
tree, when Nang Hseu Gaw heard of the reward offered 
by the king, and told the heralds she could bring the 
tree to his palace. The king was full of joy when he 
heard this, and made great preparations for her. On 
her part she simply went to the jungle and, taking 
off her turban, fastened it around the tree and carried 
it bodily into the palace where it sang as sweetly every 
day as when it was in the jungle. 

When the mother of Nang E heard of the good 
fortune that had befallen Naug Hsen Gaw she Avas very 



THE STOEY OF THE TORTOISE 73 

angry, and calling her own daughter to follow her, she 
set off for the capital. When she had arrived there she 
disguised herself and became a servant to the queen, 
and pondered how she could kill the Nang Me Prah and 
put her own daughter Nang E in her place. 

One day this wicked woman told the queen that she 
had found some fine soap beans and bark, that she was 
very skillful in shampooing, and as the next day was to 
be a great feast when the queen would follow the king 
on her royal elephant, the soap beans would make her 
black hair blacker, and the gloss glossier than ever, 
and asked her to allow her to wash the queen's head at 
a well that was just outside the gate of the palace, near 
the royal gardens, where the water was very sweet. 
The queen consented and called her attendants to fol- 
low, but the stepmother was much too cunning to allow 
that, so she told the queen that her method of washing 
was better than any other woman's but it was a secret, 
and she would reserve it for her majesty's own private 
use, but she did not want any of the attendants to see 
how it was done. If they did, she added, the next day 
at the feast every lady in the court would have hair as 
glossy as the queen's, but if they went alone, her hair 
would be as much more beautiful than any other 
womau's as the sun is more beautiful than the bamboo 
torch that lights the way through the jungle at night, 
when there is no moon. The young queen was not 
proof against this flattery, and so the two women, went 
alone out of the palace, the very guards who watched 
at the gates not knowing whither they were going. 



74 FOLK LORE STOEIES 

They soon arrived at tile well, and as the queen was 
bending over, her long hair covering her face so that 
she could see nothing, her wicked stepmother suddenly 
drew a knife and stabbed her to the heart, then, calling 
her daughter to help, she buried the poor young queen 
under the road leading to the well. She took the royal 
robes and put them on her own daughter, Naiig E, who 
returned to the royal palace and entered the royal 
apartments, all the attendants thinking it was the real 
queen returned from a bath in the river. 

That same afternoon, as the king walked through 
the palace, he was surprised to see that the wonderful 
singing tree was all withered and mute. In great dis- 
tress he called for the queen .and ordered her to make 
the tree sing as before, but although ISfang E tried with 
all her might, she could make no sound. She tapped 
it softly as she had seen Nang Hsen Gaw do, but all in 
vain. It was silent. 

Now the king was in the habit of wearing Burmese 
clothing instead of Shan, and one day when he had 
gone to his room to put on his ptsoe, he found that a 
little sparrow had built, her nest in it. He was a very 
kind man, and so allowed the little bird to live there, 
and in gratitude to the king this sparrow was in the 
habit of telling him all she saw as she flew around the 
city from morn to night, and whenever the king wished 
to find out anything that puzzled him, he would often 
call the sparrow to tell him what to do. 

He therefore now called the little bird and asked it 
what ailed the tree, and the sparrow told him that the 



THE STORY OF THE TOETOISE 75 

woman who was then in the royal apartments and wear- 
ing the clothes of the Nang Me Prah was not the real 
queen, but a woman named Nang E, and seeing her 
approach, the brave little bird began whistling, ' ' This 
is not the Nang Me Prah, this is Nang E, Nang E. 
Oh ! Nang E!" 

In a great rage the king commanded his servants to 
call the woman, and when she was come into the royal 
presence she dared not open her mouth to answer the 
king, for she was not so clever as her mother, who 
could disguise her voice as well as her face, and she 
knew that if she began to speak the king would see 
that she was not Nang Hsen Gaw, so she remained si- 
lent. But this did not save her, for the king looked at 
her and said : 

"You wear the robes and jewels of my queen, but 
you have not the same face, and you are afraid to speak 
to me, ' ' and he immediately called his chief executioner 
to take her away and cut off her head. 

But even this did not bring back the music to the 
tree, and the king was disconsolate. 

The next morning when the guard of the royal gar- 
den went to his post, he saw, near the well, a beautiful 
mawk moo flower, took it home with him and placed it 
in the chattie of water that every Shan keeps in his 
house as an offering to the hpeas. The old mother Nai, 
soon after took her basket and went to the bazaar to 
buy puc for her son's breakfast, but when she returned 
she was surprised to see that during her absence some 
one had swept the house, cooked the food, and that the 



76 FOLK LORE STORIES 

" morning rice " was all ready to eat. The eating-tray 
was set out in the middle of the room. The rice and 
curry was arranged in order on it, and the drinking 
chattie was full of scented water. She called her son 
and all the neighbors to ask who had done this, but no 
one could tell her, and in great amazement they sat 
down to their meal. That evening the same thing hap- 
pened again. While she was out, the house was again 
swept, the food was prepared, and the tray arranged 
as in the morning. For several days this happened, 
and then, the old woman determined to hide and see 
who did these kind acts. She did so, and was amazed 
to see that as soon as she had left the house (she went 
under the floor and looked up through a hole between 
the bamboos), that a spirit came out of the mawk moo 
flower that her son had brought from the road leading 
to the well, and commenced to sweep the house. In the 
midst of it the old woman rushed up to the flower and 
destroyed it, so that the spirit could not go back to its 
refuge. At the same instant, it changed into the most 
beautiful woman ever seen. 

That afternoon, Nang Hsen Gaw, for the spirit was 
she, told old Nai how her stepmother had killed her 
at the well, and buried her, and how she had been 
changed into the spirit of the beautiful maivlc moo flower 
the guard had brought to the house, and that she would 
soon go back to the king in the palace. 

They neither of them had seen the little sparrow sit- 
ting on the roof, but she had been there all the time, 
and now flew off to the king and told him all that she 



THE STORY OP THE TORTOISE 77 

had heard. The king gave orders that the wicked 
mother of Nang E should be executed immediately, 
and that a band of soldiers should go to the guard's 
house to escort his bride back in state to the palace, 
where she reigned many, many years, till she saw her 
grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up. As 
soon as the queen entered the gate, the tree began to 
play; the withered leaves put on a bright hue, and 
beautiful flowers burst into bloom ; and while Nang 
Hseu Gaw lived, the tree bloomed and played sweetest 
music every day. 

The lessons that this story teaches are : As surely 
as the wheels of the cart follow the oxen, so surely will 
wickedness be punished. If you sin you must suifer. 
The man who kills another will assuredly meet the 
same fate. 



THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD. 



I 



ANY, many years ago, at the beginning of the 
world, a little sparrow built her nest on the top 
of a tall tree that grew near the edge of a lake. In it 
she laid five little eggs, and never was mother bird 
prouder than she, and all day long she flew from tree 
to tree chirping out her joy. So proud in fact was she, 
and so much noise did she make, that a monkey that 
lived on the other side of the lake was struck with the 
remembrance of how he had once dined with great sat- 
isfaction on eggs laid by the sparrow's sister, and in a 
few minutes he was on his way to repeat the perform- 
ance. 

In vain the little bird cried and begged him to spare 
her brood, promising to show him where the sweetest 
plantains in all the country were growing ; the monkey 
only laughed at her and climbed the tree to get the 
prize. 

The next moment the robber would have gotten his 
spoil, and this wonderful story would never have been 
told, but just then the great lord Sa Kyah looked 
earthward and saw the tragedy that was taking place. 

Like a drop of rain that falls from a tree when the 
wind blows after a shower, the mighty lord descended, 
and when the would-be robber reached the nest his 
hand entered an empty one. 
78 



THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD 79 

The eggs were soon brought back from the hpea 
country where the lord Sa Kyah had taken them for 
safety, and in due time were hatched. Out of the first 
protruded a sharp bill, and a king-fisher, bright of 
plumage and swift of wing, broke out of its speckled 
prison. The next egg broke and a buffalo came out, to 
be followed by a lordly striped tiger from the next. A 
terrible hpea-loo, with head and claws like a bird and 
body like a man, tore his way out of the next one, 
already looking around for a man whom he might de- 
vour for his first meal. 

Only one egg remained, and that the smallest of all, 
but out of it came a man, and the mighty lord Sa 
Kyah smiled when he saw him, and said that although 
he was the smallest and the last, yet he must feed his 
brothers and take care of them. 

One hot day in summer the buffalo that had come out 
of one of the eggs, walking through the jungle, much 
troubled by mosquitoes, thought how nice would be a 
wallow in a hole well known to him under the shade of 
the trees by the bank of the lake, where the sun had 
not dried the mud to the hardness of bricks as it had 
in every other wallow, and accordingly turned his huge 
body in its direction, and slowly set off toward it. 

On his way there he saw on the ground what ap- 
peared to him to be a bed of flowers growing on the 
bank of the lake, and after smelling it carefully over, 
leisurely ate it all up. 

The sun was hot, the earth dry, and the flowers had 
long ago died, and what the buffalo thought were 



80 FOLK LORE STOEIES 

flowers were really ten white jackets and ten red skirts. 
But when he had finished his meal he continued his 
journey to the wallow, and then with a grunt expressive 
of great satisfaction, sinking into the soft mud till only 
the tips of his horns and the top of his head were vis- 
ible, he closed his eyes and enjoyed himself. 

By and by there was a great commotion in the water 
shouts, laughter, and jokes, together with a great 
splashing. The lazy buffalo opened one eye and saw 
ten young girls who were having great fun in the cool 
water, throwing it over one another and chasing each 
other here and there. When they came to the place 
where they had left their clothes, however, their mirth 
received a sudden check. They had all disappeared ! 
They stood up to their armpits in the water looking at 
each other with very long faces till, spying the buffalo 
in his mud bath, they approached him, and in the most 
courteous language asked him whether he had seen their 
dresses. 

The great beast closed the eye he had opened, and 
slowly uncovered the other one, but beyond this took 
no notice of the maids forlorn. Then, calling him 
"Kind Brother Buffalo," they begged him to answer 
them, saying that all the people who left the village to 
go to the bazaar before the sun had risen would soon 
be passing on their way home. The buffalo blew a big 
cloud of mud and water from his nostrils, but said 
never a word. 

Now it happened that the youngest of the sparrow's 
brood, the man, was in the jungle all the time. He 



THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BROOD 81 

had seen his brother eat up all the clothes and had 
heard all the conversation. He had noticed too, that 
although all the maidens were beautiful, the youngest 
was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He saw 
how straight was her form, how black was her hair, and 
that her eyes were the color of the sky when there are 
3iiany stars but no moon, and he determined to get her 
for his wife. He therefore now approached the party 
and told them that he could help them, and that no 
one besides could tell them where their clothes were, 
but that they must promise that the one whom he 
should pick out should be his wife. 

To this they agreed, and thus it happened that he 
became possessed of the most beautiful woman in all 
the Shan country. So beautiful in- fact was she, that 
it is said the birds stopped in the middle of a song 
when they saw her. The squirrels stopped half-way 
up the tree in their search for nuts as she walked under 
the trees, and her fame spread far and wide. 

At this time a hunter came wandering through the 
jungle in search of game, and saw her standing at her 
door. He, like everybody else, was struck with her 
wonderful beauty, and he thought to himself, ' ' For a 
long time I have been most unfortunate. I have caught 
but few animals, and their furs have been poor and 
mangy. Now, if I tell the king of my country about 
this beautiful girl, he will give me a great reward." 

Thus reasoning he set out home and told the king 
what he had seen, enlarging upon her great beauty till 
the king resolved to get her at any cost. 



82 FOLK LORE STORIES 

He therefore set out, taking with him soldiers and 
attendants as became such a mighty lord, and when he 
saw the object of his journey he acknowledged that the 
hunter had not deceived him, and he determined to 
take her back with him to the palace ; but at the same 
time he made up his mind to go about it in a cunning 
way. 

Now this king had a wonderful fighting cock of 
which he was very proud, and which had never been 
beaten. It had a beak of iron and spurs as sharp as 
the knives that come from Lai Hka, and a voice so 
loud and piercing that every morning when he crowed 
every other rooster in the city scurried away in fright 
at the challenge. 

The king, therefore, said that he and the woman's 
husband should have a cock fight. He would wager 
his country against the other's wife. In great sorrow 
the man went out into the jungle to think over his mis- 
fortune, and while sitting on the ground in a most dis- 
consolate manner he heard a little bird calling his name, 
and looking up he saw his brother, the kingfisher, 
perched above him. 

" brother, do not fear," said the bright little bird. 
"I do not forget that you are my brother and have 
guarded me long, and now I will surely help you in 
your trouble." 

When the time came for the fight, therefore, and the 
king's fighting cock stood proudly up, suddenly down 
from a tree flew the kingfisher, pecked him with his 
long, sharp bill, and then flew away before he could so 



THE SPARROW'S WONDERFUL BKEED 83 

much as turn his head. Time and again this happened 
till the king's challenger finally stretched himself dead 
on the ground. 

The fight ending in this way, however, did not suit 
the selfish king a bit, and he therefore said it was not 
a fair fight, and brought out a large, fierce dog. This 
dog was the terror of the State, but the king said that 
it should fight any other dog that could be brought 
against it for the same stakes as before. The tiger 
brother, however, was on the watch, and before the 
dog could get near his opponent, a blow from his paw 
ended his career. 

Still the king persisted in his unjust course, and now 
declared that the wager should be finally settled by a 
fight between two buffaloes. Now the buffalo brother 
was ashamed of the way in which he had treated the 
girls in the water, and had long wished for an oppor- 
tunity to retrieve his honor, so that he now fought with 
such bravery against the royal buffalo that he speedily 
conquered it. 

Then the king, seeing that he was beaten every time, 
threw off all disguise and said plainly that he had come 
to get the girl for his wife, had brought soldiers to help 
him if necessary, and he would take her in spite of 
losing the different battles, and in spite of her husband 
or anybody else. 

He stepped forward to take her, but he did not 
know that one more brother yet remained to be heard 
from, for out of the jungle with a dreadful yell came 
rushing the hpea-loo, his beak open, his claws out- 



84 FOLK LOEE STORIES 

stretched, and king, soldiers, and courtiers all disap- 
peared down his ravenous maw. 

The next month the fortunate man with his beautiful 
wife became king in the place of his enemy, and lived 
to be the oldest monarch in the whole of the Shan 
country. 



HOW THE WORLD WAS CREATED. 

IN the beginning of the world, many, many cycles 
ago, so long ago, in fact, that no man knows how 
long it was, there were no trees, no hills, no land, 
nothing but water. The wind blew the waters hither 
and thither, sometimes in great waves, sometimes in 
quiet ripples; the wind blew, the waves rolled, and that 
was all. 

Now it happened that Gong Gow, the Great Spirit 
Spider, felt weary with carrying around her heavy bur- 
den of eggs wrapped up so carefully in their white 
covering fastened to her waist, therefore she said to 
herself : 

' ' I would fain place my eggs in a safe place, but 
know of none where they can hatch themselves without 
danger, ' ' so she searched through the universe to find 
a suitable place, and at last she spied the water that 
is now the world, and in it began to spin her web. 

Backward and forward, forward and backward, round 
and round, in and out she wove, till at last all was 
done, and full of content she left her eggs in their web 
prison nest and journeyed away. 

The wind blew and drove the water hither and 
thither as aforetime, and soon little pieces of solid sub- 
stance caught iu the meshes of the web, and behold ! 
as the time passed the solid substance became more 

85 



86 FOLK LORE STORIES 

solid till it formed mud and separated itself from the 
water, and when the mud had dried, lo ! it was the 
earth. 

So the eggs of the great Spirit Spider were safely 
locked up within the earth ; by and by they hatched, 
arid breaking forth there appeared the first man, Boo 
Pau, and the first woman, Myeh Pan, from whom all 
the ancient people who belonged to the first race were 
descended. 

Many, many years passed and people lived out their 
lives, till one day the great earth caught fire. It 
burned fiercer than anybody's imagination can con- 
ceive, and it destroyed everything. All the beautiful 
forests with their green coverings of moss and leaves, 
all the cities which the first race had builded were 
burned down, till by and by there was naught more 
for the fire to consume, and it was then the end of the 
hot season ; the time of wet came soon after, and the 
rain fell upon the burning earth in such torrents that 
the whole sky was covered with the steam. 

Now it happened that in Mong Hpea, the far-away 
land where dwell the powerful spirits whom we call 
"hsangs," the smell of the steam ascended and as- 
cended till all the spirits smelled the sweet scent, and 
said to themselves : 

' ' Behold, there appears a sweet smell arising from 
below, what can it be ? " and there was much mar- 
veling at what could cause such sweet -smelling incense 
as that then ascending. 

And it also happened that in Mong Hpea were nine 



HOW THE WOULD WAS CHEATED 87 

spirits, five of them males and four females, and these 
being of more adventurous spirit than their fellows, de- 
termined to find out for themselves where the sweet 
perfume came from. So they set out on their travels 
downward. They descended faster and faster, and the 
faster they descended the sweeter became the smell, till 
at last they landed upon this world of ours, and bend- 
ing down to the earth they tore great handfuls of it 
out and ate it with the greatest relish. 

It was morning time when they descended, and they 
fed upon the fragrant earth all day till the sun set and 
the shades of evening began to surround them, then 
the eldest of the spirits looked around upon his fellows, 
and said : 

" Brethren, oie ! it is time that we ascended to our 
own country," and as the rest assented they stood up 
to return, but alas ! they could not rise, they had eaten 
so much earth it had made them too heavy to soar, and 
from that day to the day they died none of them ever 
found their way back to the beautiful country of the 
Hsangs, but had to spend all their lives upon this earth 
of ours. 

Thus we see that it is earthly desires that keep us 
from the spirit country. We see, or we hear, we smell 
or desire some earthly thing. We get our desires, but 
they keep us pinned down to the earth. We cannot 
go to the spirit country because of them. 

When the spirits discovered that they could not re- 
turn to the Hsang country they agreed that they would 
marry each other and take up their abode upon this 



88 FOLK LORE STORIES 

earth of ours. But here arose a difficulty ; there were 
five male hsangs but only four females ! There was 
chance of a great quarrel, but the strongest of them, 
his name was Hsin Kyan, thought within himself : 

' ' I am stronger than any of my brothers and could 
easily defeat them and marry whom I will, but what 
merit would there be in that ? I will ask them whether 
they would be willing to make me king and each of 
them give me of their daughters when they are old 
enough, then in time I shall have wives and power as 
well." Thus we see it is the man who is willing to 
control his desires and wait who becomes great. 

Hsin Kyan's brethren were very glad to make the 
agreement and thus it was that he became the ruler of 
them all. When the daughters of the others were old 
enough, they brought them to the king, and from that 
"day it has been the custom for men to offer their daugh- 
ters to the king. 

Now it happened that the universal lord, Sa Kyah, 
who rules over all spirits and men looked earthward 
and saw the new kingdom that was established ; he be- 
came jealous and determined to kill Hsin Kyan and 
take his kingdom away from him. But Hsiu Kyan 
was very subtle and cunning, so he tattooed himself 
with charms of such great strength that even the 
mighty lord Sa Kyah could not kill him. For many 
years they fought. Great mountains were thrown by 
each combatant at the other, but Hsin Kyan could not 
defeat the lord Sa Kyah, neither could the lord Sa 
Kyah kill Hsin Kyan. 



HOW THE WORLD WAS CHEATED 89 

Our great ancestor Hsin Kyan had seven daughters, 
whose names to this day are remembered among us as 
they have been given to the different days of the week, 
from Nang Ta Nang Nooie, the eldest, after whom we 
call the first day of the week Wan Ta Nang Nooie, to 
Nang Hsa Ne, the youngest, and when the mighty 
lord Sa Kyah found that he could not kill their father, 
he spoke to these daughters arid told them he was 
searching for one whom he would make his chief queen, 
and that if one of them would kill his enemy, their 
father, and bring to him his head, he would choose 
that one to be his queen and make her joint ruler of 
the universe ; with him she should govern everything 
created. 

But the charms tattooed upon Hsin Kyan were very 
potent. Water would not drown him ; fire would not 
burn him; rope would not strangle him; and he was 
invulnerable against thrust of spear and stroke of sword, 
and although all seven of his daughters tried to kill 
him yet they were not able to do so and six of them 
gave up the attempt in despair. 

One day, however, the youngest, she whom we wor- 
ship on the seventh day of the week and because she 
was the smallest call it Wan Hsa Nae, was walking in 
the jungle, and as she was passing under a tree she saw 
a bird sitting upon its topmost branch. Now this girl 
knew how clever birds are, and so she said to it : 

' ' Brother Bird, oie ! can you tell me how I can kill 
my father?" 

Now although this daughter was the youngest, yet 



90 FOLK LORE STORIES 

she was more lovely than all her sisters, and the bird 
was so pleased with her that he said : 

"Nang Hsa Nae, you are so beautiful that I will 
tell you the secret of your father's charm. Water can- 
not drown him, fire cannot burn him, neither can sword 
or spear wound him, but there is one way in which he 
may be killed. Take you, seven strands of a spider's 
web and twist them into a cord, then with a piece of 
white bamboo make a bow ; with this you will be able 
to cut off' the head of your father and take it to the 
mighty lord Sa Kyah, and oh ! " continued the clever 
bird, " when you are his queen, do not forget the good 
turn I have done you, and the debt of gratitude you 
owe me therefor. ' ' 

Eang Hsa Nae was full of joy when she learned 
the secret of her father's charm and she promised 
the little bird that when she became queen of the 
universe she would grant him any desire that he craved. 

That night when everybody else was asleep, Nang 
Hsa Nae crept to her father's side and with the bow 
made of the seven twisted strands of a spider's web 
killed him and cut off his head. 

With great joy she carried it to the universal lord. 
He was very glad to find that his enemy was at last 
dead, but although he had given his word to her, yet 
he would not marry Nang Hsa Nae, for, said he, she 
has killed her father although I could not conquer him. 
Were I to marry her, who will go surety for her that 
she will not do the same to me ? So the wicked daugh- 
ter did not gain her ambitious end after all. 



HOW THE WORLD WAS CREATED 91 

Not only that, however, but she and her sisters re- 
ceived a punishment, one they are even now suffering, 
and will continue till the world ends. It is this : 

When they found that the lord Sa Kyah would not 
marry their youngest sister or even accept their father's 
head, they said among themselves : 

"What shall we do with the head of our father? 
Where shall we bury it ? Should we place it in the 
earth the whole world would catch on fire ; should we 
throw it into the sea, all the seven oceans would im- 
mediately boil ; what shall we do ? " 

In their distress they went to the mighty lord Sa 
Kyah and in humble tones begged his lordship to give 
them advice so that they would be freed from the terri- 
ble trouble to which their wickedness had brought 
them. He looked at them and said : 

"This is what you must do. You," pointing to the 
youngest, " must carry your father's head in your 
arms all this year, and when the year is finished you 
can give it to the sister who is next older than your- 
self. She will carry it for a year and thus one of you 
will ever after bear it." 

And so it is. We know when the year ends because 
then come the Wan Kyap or washing days, when the 
princess who has carried her father's head for a year 
gives it to her elder sister and washes the bloodstains 
from her clothes. 

From these spirits all the inhabitants of the world 
are descended, and so we see the saying of our philoso- 
phers is true, " We have all descended from spirits." 



HOW THE KING OF PAGAN CAUGHT THE 

THIEF. 

MANY, many years ago there lived near the old 
city of Pagan a famous robber chief who was so 
fierce and cruel that he made all men fear his name. 
He stole and killed and burned till the mothers used 
to frighten their disobedient children by saying, " Boh 
Lek Byah will get thee. " He was a very brave and 
clever thief, and he became so strong that the headmen 
and elders of all the towns and villages throughout the 
country were obliged to fee him with money and goods, 
and if by any chance they did not pay this blackmail 
immediately it was demanded, that very night the fol- 
lowers of the robber chief would assuredly burn down 
their village and kill every man, woman, and child 
within it, for this was Shan and Burmese custom. 

Boh Lek Byah entered every house in Pagan. None 
was too big, none too small. He stole from the whon's 
house as easily as from the hut of the poor man ; it 
made no difference to him, till at last the palace where 
the great king lived was the only place whence he had 
not gotten booty. Several of his followers were caught 
and crucified, but that did not stop his bad actions or 
frighten him. In the old days, when a robber was 
caught he was taken to the jungle where the tigers arc. 
All the tigers knew the place of execution as well as a 
92 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 93 

dog knows worship days when the women offer rice and 
curry at the pagodas. They used to tie the thieves fast 
to the cross by their feet, hands, and hair, and when 
they had jeered at them and the women and children 
had pelted them with stones and beaten them with bam- 
boos, everybody went home and left them for the tigers 
to eat, and thus they did to the followers of Maung 
Lek Byah, but they could never catch the robber chief 
himself. 

At last the people of Pagan city came to the Amat 
Long, who was next in rank to the king himself, and 
said : 

" Our lord, for long thy slaves have been in great 
and sore trouble, and unless our lord takes pity upon 
his servants we shall all arrive at destruction." 

" What can I do ? " cried the amat, in a loud, angry 
voice, " has he not stolen from me? Did I not pay 
him two whole ticcals of pure silver as protection money 
no later than the last Water Feast, and yet did he not 
rob me as I was coming home in my boat yesternight, 
and when I told him that I was the Amat Long, did 
he not laugh in my face and yet rob me just the same. 
What can I do?" 

" Our lord can go to the Ruler of the Golden Palace 
and plead for his slaves," suggested one of the suppli- 
ants. 

Now, the Amat Long was a very cunning man, and 
he knew that if the king heard that Boh Lek Byah 
had stolen so much from his subjects he would be very 
angry, and might perhaps even deprive him of his rank 



94 POLK LOEE STOEIES 

as chief amat, for it was his duty to see that all rob- 
bers were caught and punished, therefore after thinking 
for a while, he said : 

" My friends, listen to me; let us each give silver, 
as much as we can afford ; it is better to give part of 
our possessions than to have everything taken from us. 
Dost hear ? This silver we will give to the boh, and 
he will then not trouble us any more, but will go to 
towns where the people are poorer and cannot afford to 
give as much as we, the citizens of this royal city of 
Pagan; then shall we have peace." 

This advice was very good and would have been acted 
upon, but unfortunately, one of the little princes hap- 
pened to be in the audience chamber that morning and 
heard what had been said. He went to his father, the 
ruler of the Golden Palace, and told the king what he 
had heard; therefore his majesty called the amat to the 
Golden Foot and asked him of these things. 

" What is this I hear ? " he demanded. " Has this 
wicked man robbed as much as the people say ? Why 
hast thou not caught him as it was thy duty to do? " 

"Son of the Sun," replied the servant, trembling 
very much as he kneeled before him, for who would 
not be afraid when the king is angry? "it is true; 
but this thief is a very wicked and clever thief, besides 
which he has a wonderful charm tattooed upon his 
body which is so potent that it makes him invulnerable 
to wounds from sword or gun, neither can he be bound 
with ropes, therefore it hath been impossible for the 
slave of our lord the king to capture or harm him." 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 95 

"Then," said the king, still very angry, " get thee 
a charm still more potent than the one the robber chief 
hath, for if thou dost not bring him or his head to me 
ere three days have elapsed, thou shalt fall from thy 
rank of chief amat. Dost thou hear ? ' ' 

The amat bowed till his head touched the floor be- 
fore the Golden Foot and he crawled away from the 
presence the most unhappy man in all the king's pos- 
sessions. Then in great haste he ran to his house and 
called all the charm-makers in the city to come to him 
without delay. Then when they had assembled before 
him he commanded them to make him a charm which 
would be stronger than the one tattooed upon the body 
of the robber chief, Boh Lek Byah. But the charm- 
sellers one and all declared that this was an impossibil- 
ity, for the thief had upon the luckiest day of the whole 
year eaten a piece of flesh cut from the body of a mur- 
dered man, and so he could not be harmed in any way, 
neither was it in their power to give his lordship the 
amat a charm stronger than his. 

Very frightened was the amat when he heard this, 
and very frightened were the soldiers who had been 
ordered to go with him and catch the thief. Their 
wives also cried all that night, for they knew what a 
terrible man the robber was, and how angry he would 
be with the men who had dared come to capture him. 
He would show no mercy, and without doubt would kill 
them all, and in derision send their heads back to the 
city afterward. This the robber had done before more 
than once to parties of soldiers sent to take him. 



96 FOLK LORE STORIES 

Now it happened that among the soldiers who fol- 
lowed the Ainat Long was one who had a very wise and 
clever wife, and when she saw her husband march away 
and knew the great danger that he and his fellows were 
in, she went to the wife of another soldier, and this is 
what she said : 

"Sister, oie, listen to my words. If we do naught 
but sit in our houses and weep our husbands will all 
assuredly arrive at destruction, for the boh is a very 
cruel and cunning man. Of what use will our houses 
be to us if we have no husbands? Listen, therefore, 
to what I say. The man who collects the blackmail 
for the boh from the headman of a village across the 
river and delivers it into his hand is well known to me. 
His name is Maung Gyei, and he sells books in the 
bazaar. He is a very wise man, and knows all the fol- 
lowers of the Boh Lek Byah. Let our husbands fight 
the boh with silver. It is sharper than a sword, and 
injures not the man who handles it skillfully. We will 
collect all the money we can. I will sell my earrings, 
thou canst sell thy bracelets, and the wives of all the 
other soldiers can do likewise. This will bring a big bag 
of silver, and half of it we will give to Maung Gyei. 
He will then call some of the followers of the boh to a 
secret place and tell him that the Amat Long will give 
him the balance in return for the head of their master, 
if they take it to his lordship ere three days have 
have elapsed. Our husbands will then bring the head 
of this wicked man to the royal palace and lay it be- 
fore the Golden Foot ; they will reap much honor and 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 97 

glory for having fulfilled the order of the king and the 
country will be freed from this great trouble. 

Now, when the wives of the other soldiers heard 
these words they perceived that she was indeed a very 
clever woman, fit to be the wife of a great amat instead 
of a common soldier, and one ran swiftly after the 
amat and his men, for in truth they had not gone far, 
but were traveling slowly, because they feared to come 
up with the boh and his fierce followers ; and they were 
filled with joy at the good news the messenger brought 
them. At the order of the amat his men hid them- 
selves in a thick jungle till the money should be col- 
lected and brought to them. 

After two days and when it was very dark, a man 
came to them saying that he was the friend of Maung 
Gyei, and bore with him the head of the robber chief, 
and thereupon showed it wrapped up in a cloth. Then 
were the soldiers full of joy again, and they paid the 
money to him, and that night they slept peacefully, for 
they knew that their enemy could harm them no more, 
and that they had been delivered from the great dan- 
ger which had been threatening them. Before they 
slept the amat sent a swift messenger to the city to tell 
the king the good news that the robber chief was dead, 
and that they were bearing his head with them and 
would present it before the Golden Foot the next 
morning. 

Next day, therefore, at the head of his men, he 
marched to the Golden Palace, and the people of the 

city were so full of joy over the fact that Boh Lek 

G 



98 FOLK LOEE STOKIES 

Byah was dead, that great numbers followed the pro- 
cession to the palace gates in the hopes of getting a 
glimpse at the head of their enemy, and everybody 
praised the Arnat Long for his bravery and wisdom in 
killing the robber chief who had oppressed them so 
sorely. His wife also called musicians and dancers, and 
gave orders to her servants to prepare a great feast that 
night in honor of her brave husband. They reached 
the Golden Foot and knelt before the throne, but when 
the basket was opened, behold, it contained the head 
of another man, and not that of the bo li at all. 

Then did all the people in the city laugh at the amat 
because his enemy had deceived him, and he fell from 
his rank of chief amat. All his golden umbrellas were 
taken away from him and given to his successor, and 
he was obliged to earn his living by selling medicines 
in bazaar, and from that day till he died he bore the 
nickname of Amat Toak Arah ; l but the people all 
praised the cleverness of his enemy, the thief. 

Now, when the king saw how cunning Boh Lek 
Byah was and how easily he had deceived his servant, 
he determined that he himself would take the robber 
chief and thus gain great credit and renown. To this 
end he gave orders to the headman of every village 
throughout his kingdom that directly the robber should 
come within his jurisdiction he was to report immedi- 
ately, and the king would send a trusty officer to arrest 
him. He did not tell them that he himself would go, 

1 Literally, "The counselor who fell from his rank," i. e., 
was degraded. 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 99 

therefore for a long time the headmen feared to obey 
the order of the king for, said they among themselves: 
'" The bo h deceived the Amat Long, who was one of the 
most cunning of men, and will he not escape from any 
other whom it should please our lord the king to send 
against him ? Is there any more cunning man in the 
palace now than before ? When he finds out also that 
we have reported his presence to the king his mind will 
become hot against us, and he will without doubt re- 
turn and destroy all our houses and kill everybody in 
our village. Nay, it is better to give him silver and 
beg him begone elsewhere," so although they told the 
messengers of the king they would follow his words, 
they simply held their peace when the dreaded robber 
chief was near their village. 

But after a long time the headman of Myo Haung, 
who was braver than his fellows, came to the palace 
and told the king that the boh was then at his village, 
and would leave when it became dark, taking boat for 
Myo Kywe, which was a suburb of the city of Pagan. 

The heart of the king was filled with joy when he 
heard this piece of good news, and he gave the headman 
a great reward. Also he took off the royal robes such 
as is the custom of kings to wear, and put on very poor 
ones so that no one would think that he was the lord 
who ate the country of Pagan. He also took with him 
a sword ; not the royal sword with the silver sheath 
and ivory handle, but an old clah with a wooden handle 
bound around with rattan string, and a sheath of wood, 
such as the common people carry, then he went to the 



100 FOLK LOEE STOBIES 

bank of the river near Myo Kywe and waited. He 
waited long, but his heart was strong and he did not 
become discouraged by reason of the waiting, and at 
last he saw coming down the river a small boat, and in 
it a man whom he knew immediately to be the thief. 

Maung Lek Byah guided his boat toward the bank 
near where the king was seated, for he was a skillful 
oarsman, and when he had fastened it with a rattan 
loop to the end of his oar stuck into the soft mud at 
the Avater's edge he ascended the path to the village, 
and as he reached the top of the bank he caught sight 
of the king in his dingy clothes and wearing the old 
sword with the wooden handle, sitting on the side of 
the path. 

He was surprised to see a man there at that time of 
night, for the gongs which call the priests and old 
women to worship had sounded long before, and every- 
body in the village was sound asleep, therefore he gazed 
earnestly at the king and then called out : 

"Who is that?" 

" It is a man who wishes to arrive at the rank of 
disciple to our lord, ' ' replied the king. 

" Art thou a man of the day or a man of the 
night ? " asked the robber looking down at him. 

"Thy servant is a man of the night," replied the 
king. 

' ' Hast thou not heard how many of my followers 
have been caught and executed ? How that the tigers 
at the entering in of the Tillages will not now eat oxen 
but wait till one of my men is tied up for them ? I 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 101 

tell thee they have not long to wait either. Art thou 
not afraid?" 

"Ah, our lord," replied the king, "thy disciples 
suffered because they did not take heed and follow in 
the footsteps of our lord, therefore have they arrived 
at destruction ; but thy servant will study thee, 
pay ah, and thus will I learn how to become a great 
bo h and also to escape their fate." 

Now when the king talked in this fashion the boh 
was very pleased with him, and gave him permis- 
sion to follow. He also promised to teach his new dis- 
ciple all his arts ; that he would not let him ever be 
caught and would make him as famous a boh even as 
he was. "And so," said he, "as thou hast a sword 
with thee, follow me. I will give thee thy first lesson." 

Now it happened that as they walked along toward 
the city the thief began to think within himself, "Who 
can this new disciple be? He surely comes from a 
high family, for he speaks not like the common people, 
but as kings have a custom of speaking. He wears the 
clothes of a common man, and carries the sword of a 
coolie, but yet his words are the words of one used to 
command. Can he be a spy sent by the amat whom I 
tricked so nicely the other day, I wonder ? ' ' and thus 
he turned it over and over in his mind. 

The hpeas have ever aided the kings of Burma, and 
now those whom the king had been in the habit of 
feeding daily were watching over him, and when they 
heard the bo h thus talk with himself, for the spirits 
can hear us think even when we make no sounds of 



102 FOLK LOEE STORIES 

words, they put it into the head of the robber to go to 
the house of the king's own astrologer. It was not 
very far and they soon arrived there. Then Maung 
Lek Byah said to the king : 

' ' Stay thou here and watch ; if thou dost see or hear 
aught come and call me," but he himself went under 
the house of the astrologer to discover whether he slept 
or not. When he knew that the man was sound asleep 
he would draw a sharp knife which he carried in his 
girdle, cut a hole in the mat side of the house, creep 
in through this hole and take what he wished ; then he 
would escape before the lord of the house awoke. 

As he was watching, however, he heard the astrologer 
come out upon the veranda so that he could study the 
stars, for that was his custom ; then he heard him say 
to himself : 

' ' Truly this is a good thing to marvel at, for I see 
the star of that famous robber chief, Boh Lek Byah, 
and following it closely is the star of none other than 
the ruler of the Golden Palace himself." 

For a long time the astrologer sat upon his veranda 
pondering over this strange occurrence and trying to 
think what it should portend; but in vain. He could 
think of no solution of the mystery, so after again saying 
that it was a good thing to marvel at he gave it up and 
went into his house to sleep. 

Thus did the thief discover the high rank of his new 
disciple, for the astrologer knew the star of the boh well 
and would make no mistake. He also knew the star 
of the king. Had this same astrologer not cast the 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 103 

horoscope of the robber chief and foretold which days 
'were lucky and which unlucky to him, so that by tak- 
ing heed he had never been caught? Therefore when 
he again came forth from under the royal astrologer's 
house and saw the king was still waiting without, even as 
he had given orders, his mind was filled with great fear. 

Then said the king directly he saw the robber: " 
Kin Byah, thy servant knows a place where there are so 
many rubies that they are as common as maknin seeds 
that the children play with in the dust ; gold is as 
plentiful as iron is with us, and there is enough silk to 
stock ten bazaars. All this is within reach of our 
hands. I can guide thee to the place, for I know it 
well; wilt thou follow?" 

Then said the thief: "I know of but one place of 
which thou canst say that with truth, and that is the 
Golden Palace; but a man may not enter there and 
live. Knowest thou not that the guards carry sharp 
daJis, and that if a man is caught there without per- 
mission from the king or one of his ornate, he is imme- 
diately impaled ? In very truth it is a place good to 
shun and fear greatly, even as the den of a hungry 
tiger in the jungle." 

"True, brave man," replied the king, "but this 
evening as I passed by the palace I saw hanging from 
the top of the wall a rope-ladder ; we can climb over, 
take enough to make us rich for the rest of our lives, 
and run away before the guards with the sharp dahs 
discover that we have been there. Thus shall we earn 
much wealth and glory, and people throughout the 



104 POLK LOEE STOEIES 

land will call our lord the 'Boh Who Entered the 
Golden Palace,' and all men will fear his name more 
than the name of a hungry leopard." 

Then were the thoughts of the boh in great confu- 
sion, and he said to himself : " Of a truth I am about 
to arrive at destruction at last. I have had my last 
adventure. If I do not follow the king he will as- 
suredly call out to the guard and I shall be taken. If' 
I go, how shall I be delivered from the great dangers- 
which will surround me in the Golden Palace ? I am 
undone whichever way I take." 

Then said he to the king: " disciple, whom I love 
much, I fear to enter the Golden Palace, for this I per- 
ceive is one of my unlucky days. We will therefore 
go to Pin Tha village, for I saw this morning a great 
number of coolies there. They were following a great 
prince from the hills. They have been traveling far to- 
day and are therefore heavy with sleep, and we can 
despoil them of as much as we can carry away. As 
they are very weary with their journey, none will know 
aught till they awake in the morning." 

"Upon what day wast thou born?" demanded the 
king, and the boh said that it was upon a Saturday. 

"Then," said the king, " behold ! this is a lucky 
day," and he drew forth from under his jacket a horo- 
scope, which showed that this was a lucky day upon 
which a man who had been born upon a Saturday 
could undertake any deed requiring great wisdom and 
bravery in its accomplishment, and in spite of all that 
Maung Lek Byah could say the king led the way 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 105 

toward the palace, and the bo h was obliged to follow 
him, which he did with very slow and hesitating steps, 
for his heart had become as weak as water. 

Even as the king had said, there was a rope-ladder . 
hanging over the palace wall, and the bo h perceived in 
what manner the king had left the Golden Palace, but 
being a very wise man he followed without opening his 
mouth. 

They passed through the palace courtyard and saw 
there a thing good to marvel at ; all the guards who 
ought to have been watching their lord were slumber- 
ing, so that the king and the boh gathered up all the 
spears and dahs belonging to these men and carried 
them away, hiding them in a secret place under one of 
the houses. 

As they entered the palace buildings the thief be- 
came so full of alarm that all his strength left him and 
he could hardly walk. Then the king saw that his 
follower had arrived at great fear, and as they passed 
the house where the royal food was prepared, he said : 

" Friend, I perceive that thou art in sore distress ; 
come, eat the food I am about to prepare for thee and 
thou wilt become strong. ' ' 

"Nay," said the boh, "that I cannot do. Can a. 
common man eat of the golden food and live ? This 
will I not do; surely I should be accounted worthy of 
death." The king would not listen to him, but en- 
tered the royal kitchen, and with his own hands cooked 
some food which he compelled the thief to eat. 

Now, the king had prepared two messes, one in 



106 FOLK LORE STOEIES 

which he had cunningly placed some opium and one 
without, and it was the food which contained the opium 
that the king gave to the boh. Therefore, after a little 
time, he said to the king : 

" disciple of mine, I know not what is the matter 
with me. I have no strength and although it is death 
to sleep in the Golden Palace yet must I sleep, for if I 
do not I shall surely die. ' ' 

As he said these words his head drooped upon his 
chest, his eyes closed and he fell asleep. Once more 
was the heart of the king filled with joy and he bound 
the boh with strong ropes in great haste and made him 
a prisoner. 

Early the next morning the king called the officer 
who was in charge of the guard the night before and 
when he was come before the face of his majesty, the 
king said : 

" I have a parable to tell thee. Once upon a time 
there was a great king and in his country was also a 
famous robber chief and, behold, one night the king 
was sore troubled Avith questions of statecraft so that he 
could not sleep, therefore he walked throughout his 
palace. As he Avas passing through the courtyard he 
spied a ladder hanging from the top of the wall. Now 
the thief of whom I have spoken had that very night 
entered the Golden Palace and at that same moment 
the king caught sight of him, loaded down with plun- 
der, creeping toward the rope ladder beside which he 
stood. Then the king fell upon him and took him 
prisoner, bound him securely with strong ropes and 



HOW THE KING CAUGHT THE THIEF 107 

dragged him to a safe place ; but the soldiers who should 
have been watching were all asleep. What should be 
done to such guards as these ? " 

Now the officer did not yet know that the dahs of his 
men had been stolen, so bowing before the Golden Foot, 
he replied : 

" Head of thy servant's body, there is but one thing 
to be done, they are worthy of death. Their lord should 
pass judgment upon them without mercy and that im- 
mediately." 

" That is a good judgment," replied the king, and 
turning again to the officer of the guard, he said : 

' ' Last night I saw the great and renowned robber 
chief, Boh Lek Byah, in this palace. I took him pris- 
oner with mine own hands, behold, he lies tied fast 
with ropes in yonder room, but all the guards who 
should have been watching were asleep. Where are 
their dahs ? Let every man who has no sword be im- 
paled before I eat my morning rice." 

Then were the hearts of the king's amats full of joy 
when they heard that the thief whom they all feared 
was a prisoner in the palace, and they praised the won- 
drous bravery and subtlety of their royal master, say- 
ing that without doubt he was the bravest and wisest 
king who ever sat under a white umbrella. 

The king was very proud as he listened to their 
praises and gave orders that the robber chief should be 
brought before him. 

When Boh Lek Byah was led to the Golden Foot he 
prostrated himself, and the king said : 



108 FOLK LORE STORIES 

" If a man be found in the royal palace at night 
what hath custom decreed should be the punishment 
for his presumption ? " 

Then the prisoner said: "King above all kings, it is 
death." 

"Hast thou anything to say why thou shouldst not 
be impaled or given to the tigers to eat ? " demanded 
the king in a terrible voice. 

" Lord of the world," replied the unfortunate man, 
"last night thou didst ask to become disciple to our 
lord's slave. Will the disciple order his teacher to be 
executed? When our lord's slave was beneath the 
royal astrologer's house he discovered that his new dis- . 
ciple was the Eater of the Country and so when our 
lord of the Golden Palace ordered his slave to enter, he 
would have been worthy of death had he not obeyed. 
Will the Son of the Sun execute his slave for follow- 
ing his words? " 

Then when the king heard that the robber had 
known who he really was, he marveled much at his 
wisdom, and said : 

' ' Assuredly thou art too wise a man for the tigers 
to eat. Take thou yonder sword, it belonged to him 
who yesterday was captain of the royal guard. Follow 
me and thou shalt later become my chief amat." 



GLOSSARY OF TERMS 



Puo. Curry. 

ZAYAT, A place built for the accommodation of travelers, also 
used as an assembly place for worship, especially during relig- 
ious feasts ; they are usually built near monasteries. 

PABAH. (Burmese, payah) a god; an image of Gautama 
Buddha. 

KAM. Luck. 

MAU. To be skillful. 

AMAT i/6w. The chief amat or chief counselor of a prince. 

SOIE. The Indian " OTSS" ; a weight equal to about three and a 
half pounds avoirdupois. 

CHATTIE. A cooking pot, usually made of earthenware. 

HiJK. A deep rent in the earth with steep sides ; a ravine ; a 
torrent usually runs in it during the rainy season, but it is dry 
in the hot season. 

HPEA. Spirit or supernatural being. 

AMAT. A minister of State. 

HSAN. A rice bag. 

NANG ME PEAH. A queen. 



LiUuuUti 



I j '350 21 ! 




(I 



BARNES, Anna M* 

The Red Hinok, Shan 

Folk-Lore StorJes by .C, 



O" 



BAR>ES, Anna M 

The Red Miriok 
Shan 5blk-Lore Stories 
by W. C, Qrif^s 
231928 



THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO